Missing US Navy sailor sighted by shipmates

United States Navy seaman Seth Austin Woods disappeared on May 7, 2018, in Singapore near a 7-Eleven store, said a Reddit user who claims to be his cousin.
United States Navy seaman Seth Austin Woods disappeared on May 7, 2018, in Singapore near a 7-Eleven store, said a Reddit user who claims to be his cousin. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/HARLEY DANYELLE

A United States Navy seaman reported missing since Monday was recently sighted by his fellow sailors. However, they were unable to get to him, said a US Navy official yesterday.

The missing seaman, Mr Seth Austin Woods, 18, looked fine and was not distressed, said Vice-Admiral Phillip G. Sawyer, commander of the US 7th Fleet.

According to online discussion platform Reddit user jms428, who claims to be Mr Woods' cousin, the sailor disappeared on Monday near a 7-Eleven store during his submarine's routine crew rest in Singapore.

"His friend went to 7-Eleven and he went to a smoking area to vape. When his friend came back he was gone. It's been over 30 hours," wrote the user on Monday.

Mr Woods, a machinist mate fireman, was assigned to a submarine on a routine scheduled deployment to the Indo-Pacific region. Submarines and other US Navy ships make routine visits to Singapore for crew rest, said Lieutenant-Commander Arlo Abrahamson, spokesman for the US 7th Fleet in Singapore.

He added: "The US Navy is proactively cooperating with local law enforcement authorities and making a thorough search for this missing sailor. We hope to return Fireman Woods to the ship soon."

Mr Woods' mother, Ms Carmen Smith-Stow, last heard from her son on March 17, just before he left on the submarine, she told The Straits Times earlier.

"We are trying to come up with the funds to get (to Singapore) to help look for Seth," she said.

The Singapore Police Force has issued an appeal for information on the sailor. Anyone with information is requested to call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. All information will be kept strictly confidential, said the police.

Esther Koh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2018, with the headline 'Missing US Navy sailor sighted by shipmates'. Print Edition | Subscribe