Seven US destroyer crew missing, commander hurt in crash off Japan

Planes, boats and helicopters scoured the seas off Japan’s Pacific coast in a bid to find the crew who disappeared in the predawn accident, which also left the USS Fitzgerald’s skipper injured.



It was not clear where the missing sailors were when the collision happened.

Several other crew members were injured and had to be evacuated by air to hospital, including the guided missile destroyer’s commanding officer Bryce Benson.

Aerial television footage showed one person lying on a stretcher and a rescuer being pulled up to a helicopter that was hovering above the Fitzgerald, part of its right side caved in.

“There are seven sailors unaccounted for; the ship and the Japanese Coast Guard continues to search for them,” the Navy said.

The collision between the Fitzgerald and Philippine-flagged container ship ACX Crystal happened around 2:30 am (1730 GMT Friday) off the coast of the Izu peninsula, southwest of Tokyo.

In this photo released by Japan’s 3rd Regional Coast Guard Headquarters, the damage of Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal (AAP)AAP

The area is a busy shipping channel that is a gateway to major container ports in Yokohama and Tokyo.

“The volume of ships is heavy in this area and there have been accidents before,” coastguard official Yutaka Saito told Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.

NHK said the massive 222-metre (730 foot) container ship made a sharp turn around the time of the accident, but its captain suggested otherwise.

“(We) were sailing in the same direction as the US destroyer was and then collided,” he was quoted as saying by Jiji Press news agency.

0:00 Stretcher airlifted from US ship Share Stretcher airlifted from US ship

‘Going all out’ 

Japan’s coastguard, which is probing the incident, said it has sent a half dozen vessels, several aircraft and a team of specially-trained rescue personnel to the scene. They were later joined by the country’s Self-Defence Forces.

“We’re going all out in the search to find these missing people… but we still haven’t found any clues about where they might be,” a coastguard spokesman said, adding that the search may continue overnight.

The 154-metre Fitzgerald — which was commissioned in 1995 and deployed in the Iraq war in 2003 — is based in Yokosuka, operating in the Pacific and the Sea of Japan (East Sea). 

The accident happened 56 nautical miles (104 kilometres) southwest of Yokosuka, the navy said.

“My daughter is on the Fitzgerald,” a parent wrote on the 7th Fleet’s Facebook page.

“So worried. Just need to hear she is ok. Thinking of all of our sailors and their families!!”

US chief of naval operations Admiral John Richardson said in a statement: “As more information is learned we will be sure to share it with the Fitzgerald families and when appropriate the public.

“All of our thoughts and concerns are with the Fitzgerald crew and their families.”

Television images showed heavy damage to the right side of the Fitzgerald just ahead of the control tower, and that the ship had taken on water.

“The USS Fitzgerald suffered damage on her starboard side above and below the waterline. The collision resulted in some flooding,” the Navy said.

The navy said that while “her propulsion was limited”, the ship was not in danger of sinking and it headed back to port under its own power.

The ACX Crystal, meanwhile, appeared to have relatively minor frontal damage, and none of its 20 crew were injured, the coastguard said.

The vessel — which was sailing to a Tokyo port Saturday afternoon — is a commercial container ship with a Filipino crew, according to its Japanese owner, NYK Line.

It had left the central Japanese city of Nagoya on Friday and was due to arrive in the capital on Saturday.

“We can’t comment on the accident as it’s being handled by the Japanese coastguard,” a company spokesman told AFP.

“We will fully cooperate with authorities investigating the case.”


Lions down Maori All Blacks in Rotorua

The British and Irish Lions have turned the second-half screws on the Maori All Blacks, emerging 32-10 victors in Rotorua.


Holding a slender 15-10 lead early in the second half, the Lions were handed a major shot in the arm through the controversial sin-binning of Maori halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow – who hit a slipping Leigh Halfpenny high with his shoulder.

Down a man, the Maori struggled to compete with the Lions’ set-piece and were 29-10 behind when Kerr-Barlow’s returned to the field 10 minutes later.

Despite the win, it was another unimposing performance from the Test selection, who are running out of time before next week’s first Test against the All Blacks.

They offered few surprises from beginning to end, sticking to the brawny “Warrenball” style that served them so well last week against the Crusaders – even allowing for an improved performance from Irish playmaker Johnny Sexton.

The unerring boot of Welsh fullback Halfpenny put away four penalty goals in the first half and another two in the second – yet, despite a huge territory and possession advantage, the Lions seldom created try-scoring chances.

When they did, such as through Jonathan Davies and Conor Murray, they often looked to grind out a penalty and turn to the metronomic Halfpenny.

Along with Halfpenny’s 18 points, a penalty try and pick-and-go effort from Englishman Maro Itoje were eventually enough for victory.

The Maori ran the ball with less abandon than expected and frequently sought out tactical kicks to the Lions’ defensive corners.

They were the only side to nab a first-half try, with Liam Messam capitalising on a 12th-minute George North error to grubber ahead for himself and score.

With a two-point deficit at the break, the Maoris’ chances of repeating the 2005 feat of downing the Lions looked good – until Kerr-Barlow’s sin-binning, and the concession of a three-try lead from which they couldn’t recover.

Zombie worms found in Australian deep sea abyss

Watch out Australia, the zombie worms are here.


The blood-red, faceless worms with a craving for bones instead of brains have been found in Australian waters for the first time in a deep-sea abyss off the east coast.

After hauling up the skull and spine of a pilot whale lying four kilometres underwater just off the northern NSW seaside town of Byron Bay, scientists discovered the worms burrowed deep inside the bones and sucking on the marrow.

The one-centimetre long worms have previously been found in parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans but never off the Australian coast.

Scientists believe they’ve been around for millions of years and once feasted on the bones of aquatic dinosaurs.

The worms were among hundreds of new and rarely seen marine creatures discovered by the team of 58 scientists, technicians and crew during a month-long voyage, which ended in Brisbane on Friday.

A supplied undated image obtained Saturday, June 17, 2017 of a Zombie worm Osedax.MUSEUMS VICTORIA

Dr Tim O’Hara, the chief scientist on board and Museum Victoria’s senior curator of marine invertebrates, described the worms as an exciting find given their unusual way of feeding.

The worms lack a proper mouth and instead use tentacles to devour bone marrow after it’s been broken down by bacteria.

“They’re just living in a soup of bacteria and sucking up the nutrients,” Dr O’Hara told AAP.

“They’ve been a fascinating story in marine biology really because everyone’s wondered how they get from one skeleton to another.

“Scientists have been looking at that for a few years and found they are everywhere in the plankton just waiting for a whale to fall to a sea floor.”

The exploratory voyage by the Museums Victoria and CSIRO scientists marked the first time the murky depths of the abyss have been studied.

A metal sled-style device attached to eight kilometres of wire was plunged into abyss each day to collect samples of marine creatures.

About 10 new types of eels were discovered along with several unique crustaceans, sea stars and sea cucumbers.

Rarely-seen creatures including a blob fish – dubbed the world’s ugliest fish – tripod fish with long spikes sticking out of their fins, and a type of faceless fish not found in Australian waters for more than a century were also collected.

“There’s a lot of new forms of life here and we are really adding to our knowledge of the biodiversity of the deep,” Dr O’Hara said.

However, while the scientists were impressed by the creatures they found, they were disturbed by the amount of rubbish including paint tins, fishing lines and other items dating back to the days of steamships.

Much of their marine haul will be displayed in museums across Australia and overseas as a way of “bringing the deep sea to the people”, Dr O’Hara said.

More exploratory voyages of the abyss are being planned, including one focused on the little-known habitats of its rocky sea mountains.

Other news

Cosby jury deliberations longer than trial

The jury deliberating entertainer Bill Cosby’s fate at his sexual assault trial will return after yet another marathon 12-hour session failed to produce a unanimous verdict.


Since Thursday morning, when the jurors told Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven O’Neill they were having trouble reaching agreement, they have spent nearly 24 hours either discussing the case in a conference room or re-hearing trial testimony in the courtroom.

All told, the deliberations, which began on Monday, have lasted approximately 52 hours – longer than the trial testimony.

Cosby’s lawyers have repeatedly urged O’Neill to declare a mistrial, given the length of the jury’s debate, but the judge said on Friday he could not intervene without a fresh signal that jurors remained deadlocked on the three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Cosby, 79, once one of the country’s most beloved entertainers, is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

About 60 women have made similar allegations, although only Constand’s is recent enough to sustain a criminal prosecution.

Cosby has denied all of the accusations, which have shattered the reputation he built as “America’s dad” while starring in the 1980s hit TV series The Cosby Show. He has said the encounter with Constand was consensual.

O’Neill and Cosby’s lead lawyer, Brian McMonagle, clashed on Friday, with the defence attorney complaining that the jury was essentially getting a replay of the entire trial.

But the judge said he would allow the jury to work toward a verdict as long as it wanted.

O’Neill also appeared to take issue with comments that Cosby’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, made to the media on Thursday night, when he said the judge should end the trial and send the jurors home for good. McMonagle has said Wyatt was not speaking at his direction.

If the jury cannot break its impasse, the judge would have to declare a mistrial. In that case, prosecutors would have the option of seeking to retry Cosby before a new jury.

The jury has spent days reviewing large chunks of trial testimony, including both Cosby’s and Constand’s accounts of the night in question.

Cosby did not testify but his version of the encounter was shown to jurors in the form of a police interview he did in 2005, as well as sworn depositions he gave in 2005 and 2006 during Constand’s civil lawsuit.

Clinical Lions grind Maori All Blacks down in 32-10 win

The victory sent a powerful message to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen as to how tough the Lions would be when the test series gets underway in Auckland next Saturday.


Kerr-Barlow was sinbinned for a dangerous shoulder tackle on Lions fullback Leigh Halfpenny allowing the visitors to extend their advantage from a close 15-10 to 29-10 while the scrumhalf was on the sideline shortly after halftime.

The momentum of a penalty try from a dominant scrum and lock Maro Itoje smashing over following a sustained buildup continued well beyond the 10 minutes that Kerr-Barlow was off the field as the Lions pack took control of the game.

Unless Gatland drastically changes his tactics and personnel in the next seven days the All Blacks will be well aware of what they can expect at Eden Park.

Coupled with their forward dominance in the second half, their tactical kicking and defence were superb, forcing the Maori to make mistakes and keeping them pinned inside their own territory without any ball.

“We managed the game well and squeezed the life out of them,” Gatland told reporters in Rotorua. “It was another step up tonight.”

Halfpenny was also unerring with six penalties and a conversion for the visitors who now face the Waikato Chiefs on Tuesday in Hamilton.

The Maori game had been expected to be an unofficial fourth test and the first half had been tight with the Maori in the game courtesy of loose forward Liam Messam’s try and a conversion and penalty to flyhalf Damian McKenzie.

The Lions held a 12-10 lead at the break courtesy of four Halfpenny penalties but they were guilty of too many indiscretions under pressure themselves, something that Gatland said they had eliminated in the second half.

Halfpenny extended the lead with his fifth penalty and when Kerr-Barlow was dispatched for the tackle that Peyper said had been close to a red card offence, the Lions forwards took total control with Peyper awarding a penalty try after a series of reset scrums.

Itoje then crashed over following another sustained buildup and the game was all but won.

The visitors could have scored more tries had the Maori not produced a valiant scrambling defence in their own 22-metre area.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury,; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly/Amlan Chakraborty)