YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A sailor who fell overboard from the USS Shiloh on Wednesday afternoon was still missing after dark, Navy and Japanese officials said.
The sailor, whose name was withheld, fell from the cruiser’s fantail shortly after 1 p.m., 7th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Jeff Davis said. The sailor was performing routine work when he fell into the ocean, about three miles south of Buoy One in Tokyo Harbor, Davis said.
The Shiloh was returning to Yokosuka following a port visit to Kure, a city south of Hiroshima on Japan’s Honshu island.
Japanese coast guard ships, Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels and coast guard helicopters joined the Navy in search of the missing sailor, said Hideki Aikawa of the coast guard’s Yokosuka office.
The coast guard received the report at about 1:40 p.m., Aikawa said.
The Shiloh — a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser — has delayed its return to Yokosuka while the search continues, Davis said. The ship has been based out of Yokosuka, Japan, since 2006. About 360 people serve aboard the Shiloh.
The Shiloh launched a rigid-hull inflatable boat during its initial search for the sailor, Davis said. Two Navy Seahawk helicopters later joined the search.
Sea conditions were rough at the time of the incident, Davis said.
Yokosuka Naval Base’s weather forecast had posted a small craft advisory Wednesday and expected sustained winds up to 25 mph and gusts of up to 35 mph, with scattered storms and temperatures in the high 70s.
As the search continued into the night, several well-wishers from around the world offered their prayers for the missing sailor on the 7th Fleet’s Facebook page.
"We forget how dangerous even ‘routine’ operations can be … and the sacrifices that even sailors in peacetime make," wrote Patrick Cronin of Washington, D.C., on the Web site.
Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumotocontributed to this story.