An Elyria man was among seven sailors who died after a U.S. Navy destroyer collided with a cargo ship Saturday.
According to a news release from the Navy, Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, was reported missing after the USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant vessel off the coast of Japan in the early morning hours Saturday while most of the 300 sailors aboard would have been sleeping.
The release said Rehm, along with six others, were found Sunday after divers gained access to flooded berthing compartments when the ship returned to port in Yokosuka, Japan.
Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of the Navy’s 7th Fleet, said most of the damage is below the waterline, including a large gash near the keel.
“So the water flow was tremendous, and so there wasn’t a lot of time in those spaces that were open to the sea. And as you can see now, the ship is still listing, so they had to fight the ship to keep it above the surface. It was traumatic,” Aucoin said.
The Navy called off the search for the seven sailors Sunday after divers found a number of bodies in the ship’s flooded compartments, including sleeping quarters, Aucoin said at a news conference at the 7th Fleet’s home base in Yokosuka.
Navy spokesman Lt. Paul Newell said the victims might have been killed by the impact of the collision or drowned in the flooding.
The other six sailors killed are:
- Dakota Rigsby, 19, of Virginia
- Shingo Douglass, 25, of California
- Ngoc Huynh, 25, of Connecticut
- Noe Hernandez, 26, of Texas
- Carlosvictor Sibayan, 23, of California
- Xavier Martin, 24, of Maryland
The incident remains under investigation.
Check back for more as this story develops. The Associated Press contributed to this report.