Early findings in the investigation into the June 17 fatal collision between the destroyer Fitzgerald and a container ship suggest the Navy crew committed multiple errors and failed to take action before the collision, CNN reported Friday.
Navy officials would not confirm the details Friday and said it was ”way too early” to discuss the investigation’s findings.
The collision ripped a gaping hole in the destroyer’s starboard side and caused the death of seven sailors after the Fitzgerald collided with the ACX Crystal off the Japanese coast.
One defense officials said the accident “will wind up being our (U.S. Navy’s) fault,” according to CNN. Another official said the crew did nothing until the last second and that “a slew of things went wrong.”
The officials also told CNN the Fitzgerald crew failed to acknowledge the cargo ship approaching, and failed to take preventive measures.
Investigators are also assessing whether the ship was traveling at a higher-than-normal speed to reach a destination it was due to arrive at the following day.
Cmdr. Chris Servello, spokesman for Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, said Friday it would be premature to discuss specifics or findings of the investigation.
He said any release of details remains a few weeks away.
“Once the investigation is complete, we will spend time with the families to ensure their questions are answered and then share the findings publicly,” Servello said.
Officials said it remains unclear whether the commanding officer was ever called to the bridge, CNN reported.
Cmdr. Bryce Benson was trapped in his quarters after the collision, and was temporarily relieved of command earlier this month to recover from injuries.
The preliminary findings will now be sent to 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, according to CNN.
There was also no indication the ship sounded a collision alarm, which would have alerted sleeping crew members to the looming collision, sources said.
Aucoin praised the crew after the deadly collision for saving the ship and preventing the potential loss of even more lives shortly after the crash.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.