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Body found by Malaysian military not a missing McCain sailor, Navy says

By TYLER HLAVAC | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 24, 2017

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A body recovered this week in waters near Singapore by the Malaysian navy is not one of the missing sailors from the USS John S. McCain, Navy officials said Thursday.

The Yokosuka-based guided-missile destroyer was traveling to Singapore for a routine port visit early Monday when it collided with a Liberian-flagged oil tanker east of the city-state, injuring five sailors and leaving 10 missing.

Adm. Scott Swift, Pacific Fleet commander, told reporters Tuesday evening in Singapore that Navy and Marine Corps divers discovered a number of bodies while searching sealed compartments in damaged areas of the McCain. He also said the Malaysian navy had discovered a body.

Those remains, which were determined through a medical examination not to be one of the U.S. sailors, will be returned to Malaysian authorities, officials said Thursday afternoon.

Four of the injured sailors, who had been flown from the ship to a Singapore hospital to be treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, have returned to their unit, the Navy said in an earlier statement Thursday. The fifth injured sailor did not require further medical assistance after the collision.

Divers from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit have arrived in Singapore to assist search-and-rescue efforts, the statement said. Ships from the Indonesia, Malaysian and Singaporean navies and a Royal Australian Air Force P-3 maritime patrol aircraft are also helping.

The search has been expanded to encompass an area of about 900 square nautical miles around the collision site, the statement said.

hlavac.tyler@stripes.com

A team of Navy and Marine Corps divers lower a tending line while searching the collision-damaged USS John S. McCain for missing sailors at Changi Naval Base, Singapore, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
JOSHUA DUMKE/U.S. NAVY PHOTO

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