02:08 GMT11 April 2021
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    The “exhaustive search” for a sailor who fell overboard last week has been called off by the US Navy.

    During routine operations about 180 miles east of Okinawa the sailor fell overboard from from the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh on Friday at about 9:30 p.m. local time. The service suspended the search Saturday around midnight. 

    The Navy is not identifying the sailor as the family has requested privacy.

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, and the crew of the USS Shiloh during this difficult time,” 7th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin said in a statement. “I'm proud of the effort the crews of the Reagan Strike Group and our Japanese allies made to find our shipmate."

    This is the Navy’s second such incident recently, as the search for Fire Controlman 2nd Class Christopher W. Clavin was also called off on Saturday. Clavin went overboard from the guided-missile cruiser Normandy about 80 miles off the coast of Cherry Point, North Carolina, on June 6. 

    "We are deeply saddened by the loss of our shipmate, Petty Officer Chris Clavin,” Normandy commanding officer Capt. Derek Trinque said in a statement. “He was an important part of the team and a friend to so many on board … We are not alone in our grief. Our hearts and thoughts are also with Chris' mother, sister and his entire family."

    The search was carried out with the help of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters deployed from the USS Shiloh to conduct the search, the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier,  the USS McCampbell destroyer and a a P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, with assistance from the US Coast Guard District 11 and the Joint Personnel Recovery Center Hawaii.

    Japan deployed its Ryuku and Kudaka coast guard ships and the Ashigara destroyer to help with the two-day search that covered 5,500 square miles, the release stated. 

    "The decision to suspend the search was not arrived at lightly," Task Force 70 and Carrier Strike Group 5 commander Rear Adm. Charles Williams said in the release.  "Our thoughts are with our lost shipmate, his family, and the officers and crew of USS Shiloh. I am thankful for the dedication and professionalism shown during this search by the US Navy and our Japanese Allies."

    An investigation into the USS Shiloh incident is currently underway.


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