The search for seven missing American sailors aboard the USS Fitzgerald was called off Sunday, a day after it collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship, after multiple bodies were found in flooded compartments of the ship. So far, officials have not confirmed that all seven missing sailors have been accounted for, but after surveying the damage done by the merchant ship—which is three to four times the U.S. destroyer’s size—it appears highly likely all of the sailors were trapped in flooded compartments, which included the ship’s sleeping quarters.
The collision happened early in the morning Saturday—around 2:20 a.m.—in a busy shipping waterway off the coast of Japan. The investigation into what caused the accident is still underway, but the Philippine ship appeared to hit the Fitzgerald at a high speed, causing extensive damage to the American ship. Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, the commander of the Navy’s 7th Fleet, said that a gash beneath the ship’s waterline meant the crew of nearly 300 had to scramble to ensure that the ship didn’t sink altogether.
The crew of the Philippine-flagged vessel was unharmed. Japanese investigators are treating the incident as a possible case of professional negligence on the part of the container ship.