Weslaco Native Killed in U.S.S. Fitzgerald Collision

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Weslaco - The U.S. Navy has confirmed a Weslaco native was killed when a ship container off the coast of Japan hit the U.S.S. Fitzgerald.

The collision happened around 2 a.m. Saturday Japan time.

Commander Ron Flanders, Spokesperson with U.S. Naval Forces in Japan, tells CHANNEL FIVE NEWS Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez is one of the 7 sailors killed in the collision.

Commander Flanders says Hernandez was in the berthing space of the ship when it was struck by a 30,000 ton Philippine cargo ship. The cargo ship's bulbous head hit the crew's living quarters, giving sailors just minutes to escape.

"The crew shined in this moment and kept the ship afloat. Unfortunately, two of the ships crew berthing spaces where the sailors were sleeping were flooded and 7 sailors were trapped inside and were lost at that time." said Commander Ron Flanders.

Officials are questioning what that Philippine container ship did just moments before hitting the U.S.S. Fitzgerald.

Multiple maritime trackers show the ship made a U-turn minutes before the collision.

Commander Flanders says the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and Japanese Coast Guard are investigating.

The U.S. Navy is planning a memorial service in Japan next week.

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