Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and feared dead after an oil tanker collided with the USS John McCain off the coast of Singapore on Sunday.
The incident, which left a massive hole in the destroyer's side, forcing it to limp into port at Changi Naval Base, is the second such collision this summer. The USS John S. McCain's sister ship, the USS Fitzgerald, also out of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet home in Yokosuka, Japan, was involved in an incident with a container ship almost exactly two months ago.
Incredible video, captured by a local news crew in Singapore, shows exactly how much damage the USS John S. McCain sustained when it hit the oil tanker, a vessel easily twice its size, while it was en route to a routine port visit in the Strait of Malacca.
The damage affected "the hull [and] flooded nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms," the 7th Fleet command said in a statement released to media. In addition to the missing sailors, several other John S. McCain crew-members sustained injuries, four of whom had to be medically evacuated to receive medical attention in Singapore. All of the injuries are said to be non-life threatening, however.
The U.S., Singapore, and Malaysia have all committed resources to finding the sailors, and Naval and Marine aircraft have been combing a 100 nautical square mile area searching for any sign of the missing crew. The Navy says search-and-rescue efforts will continue well into the week.
The Navy's 7th Fleet has had a streak of bad luck in 2017. The John S. McCain collision is the fourth such mistake the fleet has made this year, and is likely to be the second mistake in two months that results in a loss of life. In January, the USS Antitem accidentally ran aground in Tokyo Bay while trying to weigh anchor. In May, the USS Lake Champlain struck a Korean fishing boat. And in June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship, leaving seven sailors dead.
But as helicopters and Osprey aircraft combed the seas in Southeast Asia, the mainstream media was predictably focused on the most important news of the day: what President Donald Trump had to say about the incident, as he disembarked from Marine One, and before he was fully briefed.
NBC News wailed:
Responding to a shouted question from a reporter about the incident on Sunday, President Donald Trump said: “That’s too bad.” Trump later tweeted that his “thoughts and prayers” were with those on board."
The White House later responded that the President had not yet met with his military advisors and was not fully appraised of the situation.