After more than 50 hours of fruitless searching by American and Japanese ships, the sister of a missing sailor believed he was still alive.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Peter Mims, of Interlachen, Florida, disappeared last Thursday when the ship was in Japan's southern waters and was believed to have fallen into the sea.
The navies covered about 5,500 square miles of the ocean as it hunted for the sailor but on Sunday it suspended the search after it proved in vain.
Yet his sister Amy James remained hopeful.
“I just can’t believe he’s gone,” James told CBS affiliate WJAX. “Is this real? Is this a nightmare?”
She added: “He’s still alive, he’s got to be fighting for his life.”
She was at least partly right.
Mims was found alive onboard his ship, the guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh, on Thursday, the US Navy said.
The U.S. 7th Fleet said the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the sailor were being investigated.
It said Mims would be transferred to another ship for a medical evaluation and recommendations for follow-on care. The Navy did not comment on Mims' condition.
Mims was found in the engineering spaces on the guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh, Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Matt Knight said. The Navy Times reported that the missing gas turbine systems technician had been hiding in one of the engine rooms.
"We are thankful to have found our missing shipmate and appreciate all the hard work of our sailors and Japanese partners in searching for him," Rear Adm. Charles Williams, commander, Carrier Strike Group 5 and Task Force 70, said in the statement.
Mims enlisted in 2014 and reported to the Shiloh in August that year.