US destroyer's commander among at least 2 injured in Japan ship collision


Posted at Jun 17 2017 10:58 AM | Updated as of Jun 17 2017 11:11 AM

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, damaged by colliding with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, is seen next to a tugboat (R) off Shimoda, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo June 17, 2017 .Kyodo/via Reuters

TOKYO - The commander of a United States Navy destroyer that collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel early Saturday morning was among two sailors medically evacuated after the incident.

A statement from the U.S. 7th Fleet said Cmdr. Bryce Benson, commander of the USS Fitzgerald, was in stable condition after being taken to a naval hospital in Yokosuka, Japan.

"As of this time, there have been two patients requiring medical evacuation. One was Cmdr. Bryce Benson, Fitzgerald's commanding officer, who was transferred to a U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka and is reportedly in stable condition," the US 7th Fleet said in a statement.

"A second MEDEVAC is in progress. Others injured are being assessed. There are seven sailors unaccounted for; the ship and the Japanese Coast Guard continues to search for them," it said.

Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, added that the Navy was now focused on the safety of the ship and the well-being sailors.

The Navy said in a statement that the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crysta at about 2:30 a.m. local time (1730 GMT), some 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, a rare incident on a busy waterway.

The merchant ship is listed as owned by Japanese shipping giant NYK Line. -- with a report from Reuters