Search ends for sailor missing from USS Princeton
Stars and Stripes September 21, 2005
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy announced Monday it has ended search efforts in the Persian Gulf for a sailor who has been missing from the USS Princeton since Sept. 13.
The Navy had been searching a 360-square-mile area for the sailor, who was last seen aboard the Princeton on the night of Sept. 12.
Ships and aircraft from the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group ceased search efforts Monday without finding the sailor, wrote a spokesman for the 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain.
“Strike group assets will continue search efforts while conducting routine operations in the area,” wrote Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown on Monday in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.
The incident is under investigation, Brown wrote.
Brown offered no information on the sailor’s identity, current status or the circumstances surrounding his disappearance.
A Navy spokeswoman at the Pentagon deferred questions Monday to 5th Fleet.
Brown has previously said the Navy would not release any information on the sailor while the search is ongoing.
In 2002, the Navy conducted 46 man- overboard search-and-rescue operations.
Man-overboard drills are a familiar part of the Navy regimen. Ships are required to hold such drills within 12 hours of setting sail and then repeat regularly thereafter.
The response to a man overboard is quick. Within minutes, a rescue boat is supposed to be in the water and a ship’s entire crew must assemble for a head count.
While most rescues are successful, some sailors are never recovered, such as one sailor who fell off the USS Nassau in 2003 near Bermuda and was never seen again, CNN reported.
The Princeton incident comes just over a month after another of the ship’s sailors died after being transported to the USS Nimitz.
On Aug. 3, Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas C. Hull, 41, died from natural causes, Brown said.
Brown said there is “no apparent connection whatsoever” between Hull’s death and the missing sailor.