Seven crew members are missing and at least three others have been hurt after a U.S. Navy destroyer collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel off Japan’s southern coast.
The Japanese Coast Guard said the U.S. ship was experiencing some flooding but was not in danger of sinking, while the merchant vessel was able to sail under its own power.
Three aboard the destroyer had been medically evacuated, including the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, who was reportedly in stable condition after being airlifted to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, the Navy said.
The other two injured were transferred to the hospital for lacerations and bruises, while other injuries were being assessed, it said
According to the U.S. Navy, the accident occurred in the early hours of this morning but the circumstances surrounding the crash have not been established.
Images from Japan’s state broadcaster NHK appear to show significant damage on the deck and to the ship’s radar.
The waterways approaching Tokyo Bay are busy with commercial vessels sailing to and from Japan’s two biggest container ports in Tokyo and Yokohama.