The U.S. Navy on Thursday turned its search and rescue mission to find 10 missing sailors from the USS John S. McCain into a recovery operation, an acknowledgment that it does not expect to find any of them alive.
It also named the 10 who have been missing since the guided-missile destroyer and an oil tanker collided near Singapore before dawn on Monday.
“After more than 80 hours of multinational search efforts, the U.S. Navy suspended search and rescue efforts for missing USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) Sailors in an approximately 2,100-square mile area east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore,” the 7th Fleet, to which the McCain belongs, said in a statement Thursday.
The Navy said it has recovered the remains of one sailor, Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from New Jersey.
The Navy said it will continue search operations inside flooded compartments in the ship.
Still missing are: Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley, 31, from Missouri; Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Abraham Lopez, 39, from Texas; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, from Maryland; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, from Ohio; Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, from Maryland; Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram, 28, from New York; Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, from Connecticut; Electronics Technician 3rd Class John Henry Hoagland III, 20, from Texas; and Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, from Illinois.
The remains of some of the 10 sailors had been found in compartments on the damaged ship, Adm. Scott Swift, the commander of the Pacific Fleet, said Tuesday without disclosing how many bodies had been located.
The American, Singaporean and Malaysian navies had been searching an area at sea covering about 900 square nautical miles around the point where the collision occurred.
The Malaysian Navy found a body during this search and handed it over to the U.S. Navy, which determined it was not one of its sailors and returned it to Malaysian authorities, the 7th Fleet said in a statement Thursday.
Five sailors were injured during the collision, and the four who needed hospital treatment were released Wednesday and have returned to their duties.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Anna Fifield