10 American sailors missing after collision

Updated: Aug 22, 2017, 11:56 IST | Agencies

A major search involving ships and aircraft from three countries launched for the missing sailors, after the destroyer collides with a tanker in the Singapore Strait

The vessel is named after US Senator John McCain's father and grandfather. Pic/AFP
The vessel is named after US Senator John McCain's father and grandfather. Pic/AFP

Ten US sailors were missing and five injured after their destroyer collided with a tanker near Singapore yesterday, tearing a large hole in its hull in the second accident involving an American warship in two months.

The badly damaged USS John S McCain limped into port in the city-state in the afternoon under escort after the dramatic pre-dawn accident, which sent water flooding into the vessel.

A major search involving ships and aircraft from three countries was launched for the missing sailors after the collision with the Alnic MC in the Singapore Strait, near the Strait of Malacca.

The US Navy said there was "significant damage to the hull" of the warship in the latest collision, which led to flooding of crew sleeping areas, machinery and communications rooms.

"Damage control efforts by the crew halted further flooding," they said in a statement after the John S. McCain arrived at Changi Naval Base.

A helicopter took four of the injured to a Singapore hospital with injuries that were not life threatening while the fifth did not need further medical attention, the navy said.

The 505-foot (154-metre) vessel could still sail under its own power after the collision at 5:24 am (2124 GMT Sunday) with the Liberian-flagged tanker, which was slightly bigger at 600 feet. Two other vessels escorted it into port.

The warship had been heading for a routine stop in Singapore after carrying out a "freedom of navigation operation" in the disputed South China Sea earlier in August around a reef in the Spratly Islands, sparking a furious response from Beijing.

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'Thoughts & prayers are w/our @USNavy sailors aboard the #USSJohnSMcCain where search & rescue efforts are underway.

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