Body found in search for missing US sailors

Body found in search for missing US sailors
PHOTO: AFP

JOHOR BARU - A body has been found about eight nautical miles (15km) from the spot where USS John S. McCain collided with the Liberian registered MV Alnic MC, said the Royal Malaysian Navy.

The body has yet to be identified, said the Navy in a statement which provided no other details, such as ethnicity or whether it was in uniform.

Earlier, the Malaysian Maritime Enforce­ment Agency (MMEA) said the search areas for the 10 US sailors who are missing following the collision have been widened.

It was initially within 100 nautical miles (185km) of the spot where the US Navy guided-missile destroyer and oil tanker collided, off Johor.

"We have widened the search to 352 nautical miles (650km) northeast of Johor waters," said MMEA southern region director First Admiral Datuk Adon Shalan.

Also, the search area for aircraft now covers 488 nautical miles (900km) while search zones have been increased from four to nine, he said.

The search and rescue operation, which started at 7am yesterday, was hampered by storm clouds, choppy seas and strong winds.

Bodies of several missing US sailors found after collision in Singapore

"Our search teams are persisting," said Adon.

The MMEA has instructed all ships, including fishing vessels, in the search area to report any sign of the missing sailors. Policemen and other personnel in coastal areas are also on the lookout.

In Kuala Lumpur, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia has deployed six vessels and two aircraft for the operation which also has Singaporean, Indonesian and US assets.

He met with US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Scott H. Swift, who was here on an official visit, on Monday.

The United States "appreciates our efforts", Hishammuddin told reporters at Wisma Perwira.

The collision between vessels happened close to Pulau Batu Puteh, the focus of a territorial dispute between Malaysia and Singapore.

Five other US sailors were injured in the incident that occurred at 5.30am on Monday. They are reportedly in stable condition.

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