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Ten sailors missing after USS John S. McCain collides with oil tanker near Singapore

The damaged port aft hull of the USS John S. McCain, is visible while docked at Singapore’s Changi naval base on Aug. 22, 2017 in Singapore. (Photo: Wong Maye-E/AP)

Ten sailors missing after USS John S. McCain collides with oil tanker near Singapore

Divers have found the remains of some of the 10 sailors who went missing when a US destroyer collided with a tanker off Singapore, the navy said Tuesday, the latest deadly accident involving an American warship.

The US Navy has announced a fleet-wide global investigation after the incident Monday involving the USS John S. McCain and the merchant vessel, which left a gaping gash in the destroyer’s hull. But Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, praised the surviving crew for saving the ship and saving lives, in the second collision involving an American warship in two months.

The accident — which also left five sailors injured — happened before dawn in busy shipping lanes around the Strait of Singapore, and sent water flooding into the ship. A massive search involving planes and aircraft was launched and US Navy divers joined the hunt Tuesday, scouring the ship’s flooded compartments.

Speaking in Singapore, Swift said “the divers were able to locate some remains in those sealed compartments during their search today”, without saying how many bodies were found. A US Navy statement confirmed he was referring to remains of some of the missing sailors.

Swift said Malaysian authorities had also found a body and were sending it to the US Navy for identification. The Malaysian navy said the body was found eight nautical miles northwest of the accident site.

The admiral said the search and rescue effort, involving hundreds of personnel and several countries, would continue, adding: “We’re always hopeful that there are survivors.”

The McCain’s crew were “tough, and they are resilient”, Swift said. “It is clear that their damage control efforts saved their ship and saved lives.”

It was the second fatal collision in two months — after the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged cargo ship off Japan in June and left seven sailors dead — and the fourth accident in the Pacific this year involving an American warship. (AFP)

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