Body of local Navy sailor killed in USS Fitzgerald collision arrives in San Diego

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The body of a local sailor killed when the U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine merchant ship off the coast of Japan will be returned to San Diego Wednesday.

Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan was one of seven sailors killed in the collision — two of which were from San Diego County. Sibayan’s body is expected to arrive in San Diego Wednesday evening and will be taken to a funeral home in Chula Vista. A date for a funeral has not yet been set.

Related Link: Memorial held in Japan for Navy sailors killed aboard USS Fitzgerald

The remains of the sailors previously reported missing were located in flooded berthing compartments after divers gained access to the spaces that were damaged when USS Fitzgerald and the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal collided.

There was no word when the body of Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass will be returned to San Diego. The other five Navy sailors were identified as: 

  • Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia
  • Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut
  • Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas
  • Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland
  • Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio

It was still unclear what led to the collision but captain of the ACX Crystal Ronald Advincula told TIME the Philippine merchant ship sent warning signals to the USS Fitzgerald and attempted to avoid collision but were unsuccessful.

Related Link: Investigations continue into cause of USS Fitzgerald collision with Japanese merchant ship

The Fitzgerald was significantly damaged, according to U.S. 7th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin.

"The ship suffered severe damage rapidly flooding three large compartments that included one machinery room and two berthing areas for 116 crew,” Aucoin said. "The crew’s response was swift and effective … Heroic efforts prevented the flooding from catastrophically spreading, which could have caused the ship to founder or sink. It could have been much worse.”

Related Link: Seven sailors killed in USS Fitzgerald crash identified, two from San Diego

The cause of the collision remains under investigation. U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Brian Fort was tasked with leading the investigation in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard and Japanese authorities. 

Categories: Local San Diego News