Donald Trump briefed as search continues for seven sailors missing after US warship crashes near Japan

The ship took on water after the collision, but has been towed back to safety

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The Independent US

The White House has been briefed on the seven American sailors who are missing and unaccounted for after the Navy destroyer they were stationed on collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan.

"Thoughts and prayers with the sailors of USS Fitzgerald and their families. Thank you to our Japanese allies for their assistance," Donald Trump tweeted.

The USS Fitzgerald, a guided missile destroyer, took on water after the collision, but was able to be tugged back to the shore. Search crews are looking for the missing sailors in the waters where the contact occurred, and damaged parts of the ship will also be searched once the ship is safely docked, officials say. The ship was 56 nautical miles southeast of the Japanese port city of Yokosuka.

“Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the Sailors,“ Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said in a statement. ”We thank our Japanese partners for their assistance”.

At least one of the sailors on board the ship were injured during the collision. He was sent to the hospital and is reportedly in a stable condition.

The damage occurred on the starboard side of the vessel, both above and below the waterline.

“Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the Sailors,“ Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said in a statement. ”We thank our Japanese partners for their assistance”, Admiral John Richardson, the US chief of naval operations, said in a statement.

Soon after the collision, the US Navy established a crisis response team and made phone numbers available to family.

“Navy Region Japan and the shore enterprise are 100% committed to providing support to these families during this difficult time”, Rear Admiral Greg Fenton, the commander in charge of US Naval forces in Japan, said in a statement.

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