Seven crew missing after US destroyer collides with merchant ship off Japan

Seven crew members are reportedly missing and one injured after a US Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan.

Footage from Japanese TV network NHK showed heavy damage to the mid-right side of the USS Fitzgerald and a someone on a stretcher being lifted to a helicopter.

The navy said the Fitzgerald was damaged below the water line on its starboard side and propulsion was limited.

USS Fitzgerald. File photo by AP
USS Fitzgerald. File photo by AP

It said the USS Dewey, medical assistance and two navy tugs were being sent to the scene and naval aircraft were being readied.

The US 7th Fleet said on its Facebook page that it was working with the Japanese Coast Guard to conduct a medical evacuation for a sailor.

The Japan Coast Guard said seven crew members were missing and one hurt. The sailor had a head injury, but the details of his or her condition were unknown.

The coastguard said it received an emergency call from Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal at around 2.20am local time on Saturday. (6.20om Friday BST) that it had collided with the Fitzgerald south west of Yokusuka, Japan.

Coastguard spokesman Yuichi Sugino said coastguard ships and aircraft were on their way to the scene.

The 730ft Philippine ship weighs 29,060 tons the coastguard said.

The Fitzgerald collided with the merchant ship 56 nautical miles from Yokosuka, a city south of Tokyo that is home to a major US naval base.

A US defence official said there was flooding in three compartments of the Fitzgerald.

AP

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