The bodies of some of the 10 missing sailors on board guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, which had collided with an oil tanker in Singapore waters, have been found after two days of search-and-rescue efforts.
Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the United States Pacific Fleet, told reporters yesterday that US divers discovered the bodies while performing recovery operations inside the destroyer, which collided with tanker Alnic MC on Monday morning.
Malaysia has also reported the discovery of a body which may be that of another missing sailor.
Speaking at Changi Naval Base, where the warship is berthed, Adm Swift said the US was in the process of getting the remains from Malaysia for identification.
Sources told The Straits Times at least three bodies have been found and are awaiting identification.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said last evening that the search area has been expanded to cover 2,620 sq km. The Straits Times understands that the original search zone was 128 sq km.
Singapore and the US are covering the centre of the search area, while Malaysian and Indonesian assets are covering the north and south, the MPA said, adding that Australia has joined the search.
On possible causes of the accident, Adm Swift, who oversees the 7th Fleet that the USS John S. McCain is part of, said nothing has been ruled out, including cyber sabotage and human error.
"We owe it to sailors that man 7th Fleet and their families to answer the questions that flow from the uncertainty of what happened, how could it happen and what can be done to prevent such occurrences in the future," he said.