The U.S. Navy has suspended search and rescue efforts for nine missing sailors after a collision involving the USS John S. McCain early Monday.
The mission was called off after more than 80 hours of a multinational search over an approximately 21-hundred-square-mile area east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. The U.S. Navy will continue recovery efforts inside flooded compartments in the ship for the missing sailors. The Navy has identified two Marylanders among the sailors missing; 23-old Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., from Manchester in Carroll County, and 26-year old Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell of Gaithersburg. Divers have recovered the body of one sailor.
Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says one of the ten sailors missing in the collision between the Seventh Fleet Destroyer and an oil tanker is from New York State. Cuomo announced Corey George Ingram, an Information Systems Technician 2nd Class of Poughkeepsie, is missing. The Navy confirmed Electronic Technician Kenneth Aaron Smith of New Jersey died in the collision. The 22-year-old's remains were found inside flooded compartments of the guided-missile destroyer.
Admiral Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, on Wednesday, fired the commander of Seventh Fleet, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command. Rear Admiral Phil Sawyer, who has already been nominated and confirmed for the position and promotion to Vice Admiral, will assume command immediately.
The announcement followed the release of a disturbing preliminary report on the June collision of the coast of Japan between the destroyer Fitzgerald and a freighter that killed seven people aboard the American ship. It was one of the Navy’s deadliest accidents in years. Twenty-four year old Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin from Halethorpe, Maryland was among those killed.