Michigan native confirmed dead in U.S. Navy ship collision; 9 sailors still missing

The Navy has confirmed that a Michigan mother's son was killed in a collision between the John S. McCain missile destroyer and an oil tanker near Singapore on Monday -- an accident that left 10 sailors missing.

According to the Navy, divers so far have recovered the remains of one sailor: Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, who grew up in Novi and last lived in New Jersey.

Nine other sailors remain missing.

Smith's mother, April Brandon, told the Free Press this week that she was holding out hope that her son would be found alive. She said Navy officials visited her home at about 5 a.m. Monday to inform her that her son was among 10 missing sailors.

"They explained the collision and said he was among the missing," Brandon told the Free Press. "He's tough. I have hope."

The Navy, meanwhile, announced today that after more than 80 hours of searching, it has suspended rescue efforts, so all 10 sailors aboard the U.S.S. John S. McCain are presumed to have died. U.S. Navy and Marine Corps divers, however, will continue search and recovery efforts inside flooded compartments in the ship for the missing sailors.

It was the second fatal collision involving a Navy vessel in the past two months, and the commander of the Seventh Fleet was removed on Wednesday.

Still missing are:

  • Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley, 31, of Missouri
  • Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Abraham Lopez, 39, of Texas
  • Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, of Maryland
  • Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, of Ohio
  • Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, of Maryland
  • Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram, 28, of New York
  • Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, of Connecticut
  • Electronics Technician 3rd Class John Henry Hoagland III, 20, of Texas
  • Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, of Illinois

The incident is under investigation to determine the facts and circumstances of the collision.

Free Press reporter John Wisely contributed to this report.

© 2017 Detroit Free Press


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