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Recovered Data Recording Device Offers Insights on Fitzgerald Accident

24 June 2017

One of the seven sailors who lost his life after a container ship slammed into the side of a Navy destroyer reportedly sacrificed himself to save his shipmates. The ship's crew then realized it had been in a collision and sailed back to try to determine what had happened. The two Navy leaders were struck by stories of heroism and sacrifice, both by the sailors aboard and their families back home.

He was rushed for medical attention at the USA naval base at Yokosuka, Japan, about 60 miles from the collision site. There is also a possibility the container ship might have tried to cut in front or in back of the destroyer and accidentally slammed into its side.

The Jiji Press news agency reported that the captain of the Crystal said his ship was "sailing in the same direction as the United States destroyer and then collided". "This process will unfold as quickly as possible, but it's important to get this right".

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U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin said an unspecified number of sailors were on watch duty the night of the collision. "They are known as the 'Fighting Fitz, ' and the crew lived up to that name".

The ACX Crystal was heading east, not far from its Tokyo Bay destination, when it turned around and traveled in a circle, according to public data from the ship's automatic tracking system posted on Marinetraffic.com. Cmdr. Bryce Benson, the Fitzgerald's captain, was injured when his personal quarter were significantly damaged in the collision. The impact nearly entirely flattened his room, according to the Navy member.

The Navy member familiar with the incident said that in retrospect, there was little chance that the Fitzgerald was going to sink because of the damage.

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Japanese investigators believe the crew of the USS Fitzgerald was in full damage-control mode, stanching the flow of seawater into the destroyer's compartments, and without reliable communications for as much as an hour after the warship was crippled by its impact with a commercial container ship last week. From bottom left to right, Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Conn.; Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas; and Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio. Seven sailors died in the accident.

Fuel and ammunition are slated to be offloaded from the Fitzgerald in preparation for more extensive repairs, according to the documents, and USA shipyards are lobbying to fix the vessel.

USS Fitzgerald, named for United States Navy officer Lieutenant William Charles Fitzgerald, is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the US Navy.

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Recovered Data Recording Device Offers Insights on Fitzgerald Accident