Remains of an unidentified number of US Navy sailors have been found in the flooded USS John S. McCain compartments, US Navy Adm. Scott Swift said Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters at Singapore’s Changi Naval Base, where the US destroyer docked after a collision with an oil tanker, Swift further said that during search efforts at sea the Royal Malaysian Navy located another body. Authorities are working to determine whether it is one of the missing sailors.
“We will continue the search and rescue operations until the probability of discovering sailors is exhausted,” Swift said.
According to media reports, one of the sailors missing has been identified as Logan Palmer, an interior communications electrician third class petty officer who enlisted in April 2016.
USS John S. McCain collided with oil tanker Alnic MC east of the Strait of Malacca and Singapore on Monday, August 21.
Significant damage to the McCain’s hull resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery and communications rooms. Damage control efforts by the crew halted further flooding.
US Navy and Marine Corps divers joined the search for the missing sailors on Monday. Equipped with surface supplied air rigs, divers were to access sealed compartments located in damaged parts of the ship.
The incident came in the wake of another collision between a US destroyer and a merchant ship. On June 17, seven US Navy sailors lost their lives when USS Fitzgerald collided with Philippine-flagged ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan.
The collision on Monday is also the fourth US Navy incident this year. On May 9, USS Champlain collided with a fishing vessel in the Sea of Japan while USS Antietam ran aground on January 31.
In response to the incidents, US Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson ordered a temporary halt to all operations tasking Navy Adm. Phil Davidson, the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, to take charge of a comprehensive review of practices.