The US Navy has found the remains of some of the 10 sailors who have been missing since the USS John S. McCain collided with a commercial tanker near Singapore Monday, but the military says it’s not yet clear how many sailors are confirmed to have died in the crash.
US Navy Adm. Scott Swift, the commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, told reporters Tuesday that remains were found in the flooded compartments of the McCain, but that it was “premature to say how many and what the status of recovery of those bodies is."
The Malaysian Navy has also located a body that it has given to the US to identify.
"We are always hopeful that there are survivors. Until we have exhausted any potential of recovering survivors or bodies, the search will continue," Swift said at a news conference in Singapore Tuesday.
Swift’s comments came as Navy officials are stepping up their investigation into the catastrophic collision between the McCain and the Alnic MC, a 30,000 ton Liberian-flagged oil and chemical tanker. American divers are scouring the flooded parts of the McCain where some of the remains have already been found, while other Navy vessels and aircraft are searching nearby waters for survivors or remains.
The cause of the collision is still unknown, but Navy leadership announced Monday that its operations around the world would be halted for at least one day for a full safety review. That reflects the service’s growing concern that there could be systemic problems behind the McCain collision and a similar incident this summer between a US warship and a commercial vessel. The June 17 collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a Philippine container ship killed seven American sailors.
"This trend demands more forceful action," the Navy’s top officer, Adm. John Richardson, said when he revealed plans for the operational pause.