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Expert Blames Autopilot in USS Fitzgerald Investigation

25 June 2017

The U.S. Navy has released the names of seven sailors who died when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a cargo ship off the coast of Japan.

Later that day, divers had an opportunity to inspect the damage more thoroughly and located the bodies of seven crew members the Navy had initially listed as missing.

The U.S. 7th Fleet commander promised multiple investigations into Saturday's fatal collision between the destroyer Fitzgerald and a Philippine-flagged containership.

Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, was three months shy of retiring when he was killed, his cousin tells The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria, Ohio.

However, NHK reported that the merchant ship had some scratches on the left side of its bow.

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The Navy said the three sailors who were injured in the collision have been released from a Navy hospital.

USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) is towed into port following a collision with a merchant vessel at approximately 2:30 a.m. local time, June 17, while operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. Numerous crew on the US ship were asleep when the collision tore a gash under the waterline on the warship's starboard side, flooding two crew compartments, the radio room and the auxiliary machine room.

Japanese officials are also investigating why the 222-metre (730-foot) cargo ship made a sudden turn at about 1.30 am, and a sharp turn after it reported the accident around 2:20 am, as shown in data from the Marine Traffic website.

He said the work by the sailors prevented a far worse situation. "I express my heartfelt solidarity to America at this hard time", Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday in response to the accident at sea.

In a statement, acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley said, "We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our fellow shipmates".

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On Sunday, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of the US 7th Fleet, would not speculate on how the accident occurred, but said there would be multiple investigations into the collision, including one by the Navy's Judge Advocate General and one by the US Coast Guard. Braniff said Rehm and her daughter, Erin, were soul mates. He said considering the damage that was done to the ship, many more people could have died. "Because of the tireless damage control efforts of a resolute and courageous team, the ship was able to make its way back to port safely".

Coast guard official Tetsuya Tanaka said they are trying to resolve what happened during the fateful 50 minutes. The ships collided early Saturday morning, when the Navy said most of the 300 sailors on board would have been sleeping. "There wasn't a lot of time in spaces that were open to the sea". Military officials still don't know what happened exactly, but it is clear that sailors tried to save each other in the aftermath.

Adm. John Richardson arrived at the USA naval base in Yokosuka to meet with bereaved families and officers who served on the USS Fitzgerald, said Cmdr.

Japan's coast guard is investigating why it took nearly an hour for the deadly collision between a United States destroyer and a container ship four times its size ship to be reported. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a sympathy message to President Donald Trump on Sunday.

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