On Friday, the US Navy said at least 7 US sailors were missing following the collision of a US destroyer with a merchant ship in the Pacific Ocean near Japan. The commanding officer of the warship was severely injured in the incident, the statement said.

Commodore Bryce Benson was among the three sailors who were seriously injured and have been immediately flown to a naval hospital in the city of Yokosuka, Japan. The starboard of The USS Fitzgerald has been damaged as a result of the collision, the report stated.

Naval commander injured

The Navy said Comdr. Benson was in good condition. A press release by the Navy noted that Benson had taken charge of the warship on May 13 having served since November 2015 as the executive officer of the vessel.

The Chief Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson confirmed that three sailors were seriously injured and were responding to treatment. The Japanese Coastguard told CNN that the US destroyer and the merchant ship collided off the coast of Japan in the Pacific Ocean. The USS Fitzgerald was flooded as a result of the damages it suffered, according to the Navy.

Japanese assistance

The warship has its own power, but with limited propulsion, the statement added. The US Navy said the destroyer was taking on water in the aftermath of the incident and was trying to keep the ship stable by pumping flooded water out of the hold.

A Helicopter from the Japanese Coast was assisting in the evacuation of the injured personnel, the statement said. A broadcast by the Japanese state-owned NHK showed video footage of an injured person being flown from the ship on the coast guard helicopter.

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Meanwhile, the Japanese Coast Guard released a statement that it deployed four vessels and one helicopter to help the US Naval vessel with the assessment of damage and search around the ship. The US Navy said it acknowledged the effort by the Japanese to assist in the search of the missing persons that could have possibly fallen into the deep sea.

Massive rescue operation

US officials admitted that the Japanese Coast Guard arrived the scene to help the situation. US tugboats and several Navy facilities, including aircraft were deployed. The merchant vessel that collided with the US warship is the ACX Crystal, a Philippine-based ship, the official said.

The Twitter account of the US 7th fleet Navy said the Navy was cooperating with the Japanese officials to ensure smooth evacuation after the catastrophic collision occurred Friday.