Search ends for 7 Navy sailors as bodies found

Damaged USS Fitzgerald is seen at Yokosuka Naval Base, south of Tokyo, Sunday, June 18, 2017. Navy divers found the bodies of missing sailors Sunday aboard the stricken USS Fitzgerald that collided with a container ship Saturday in the busy sea off Japan, the Navy said. (Kyodo News via AP)

YOKOSUKA, Japan (AP) – The search for the seven U.S. Navy sailors who went missing after their destroyer collided with a container ship off the Japanese coast has ended after bodies were found in the destroyer.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, the commander of the Navy’s 7th Fleet, told reporters that “a number of” bodies were recovered Sunday, a day after the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship four times its size. He wouldn’t say how many, pending notification of next of kin.

Aucoin said that much of the crew of about 300 was asleep when the collision happened at 2:20 a.m. Saturday, and that one machinery room and two berthing areas for 116 crew members were severely damaged. He said the destroyer was hit on the side and there was a significant impact.

A Navy spokesman said the victims might have been killed by the impact of the collision or drowned in the flooding.