Asked about the tragedy on the USS McCain, in which 10 American sailors are missing, President Donald Trump initially responded, “That’s too bad,” according to NBC News.
“Responding to a shouted question from a reporter about the incident on Sunday, President Donald Trump said: ‘That’s too bad.'” NBC reported.
Shortly after 11 p.m. on the east coast, the president expanded on his initial remark, tweeting, “Thoughts & prayers are w/ our @USNavy sailors aboard the #USSJohnSMcCain where search & rescue efforts are underway.”
The Washington Post reported the president’s initial comment the same way. “President Trump, returning to the White House on Sunday night, responded to reporters’ questions about the collision by saying: ‘That’s too bad,'” The Post reported of Trump’s first response to the tragedy, which is the second Naval disaster since June.
The president tweeted on the tragedy about three hours after the Navy first tweeted news of the collision (John McCain tweeted about it shortly after the Navy). However, he eventually did:
Ten U.S. sailors are missing and five were injured after the USS John S. McCain collided with a merchant ship east of the Straights of Malacca and Singapore, according to the U.S. Navy. The merchant vessel, Alnic MC, was flying under the Liberian flag, according to CNN.
The news is eerily similar to the earlier tragedy in June when the USS Fitzgerald Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship from the Philippines. Seven U.S. sailors died and their bodies were recovered in a flooded berthing compartment in that incident.
The USS John S. McCain is a guided-missile destroyer. It was “involved in a collision with the merchant verssel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straights of Malacca and Singapore,” the Navy reported in a statement released on Twitter.
According to the Navy, “Initial reports indicate #USSJohnSMcCain damaged to port side aft. Extent of damage and injuries being determined.”
The collision was reported at 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time, according to the Navy. “First priority is determining the safety of #USSJohnSMcCain and crew. As more information is learned, we will share it,” the Navy wrote on Twitter.
Trump’s comment came as massive rescue efforts were underway to find the sailors.
John McCain also released a statement. He said that he and his wife, Cindy, are keeping the American sailors in their prayers. According to NBC, “the guided missile destroyer is named for the Arizona’s senator’s father and grandfather, both of whom were admirals.”
USS McCain was transiting to “a routine port visit in Singapore,” the Navy reports. According to the Navy, the ship is now sailing under its own power and heading back to port. The cause of the collision was not yet clear.
Alnic MC is a 600-foot oil and chemical tanker with a gross tonnage of 30,000. The ship flies under the Liberian flag.
Seven sailors were lost in the USS Fitzgerald disaster.
Just days before the USS McCain tragedy, the U.S. Navy relieved Fitzgerald’s captain and other senior leaders of their duties, according to NPR, citing “inadequate leadership and flawed teamwork.”
There were three other recent incidents too, according to CNN. “On June 17, the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan. That collision resulted in the deaths of seven US sailors. On May 9, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain was struck by a small fishing boat off the Korean Peninsula. And in late January, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam ran aground while trying to anchor in Tokyo Bay,” CNN reported.
Learn more about the USS Fitzgerald tragedy here: