Search for missing sailor underway in South China sea

A sailor missing from a destroyer traveling the South China Sea sparked a search-and-rescue operation in disputed waters, the U.S. Pacific Fleet confirmed.

The unidentified sailor was reported missing from the destroyer, the USS Stethem, around 9 a.m. prompting the second major search effort in the Asia-Pacific region this summer, the Navy Times reported. Officials believe the missing sailor was knocked overboard.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Destroyer, the Sazanami, a helicopter and the Joint Personnel Recovery Center Hawaii joined the Stethem in its search for the missing seaman.

Officials back in June separately spent 50 hours searching off Okinawa for a different sailor — Petty Officer 3rd Class Peter Mims — only to learn he’d been hiding in engineering spaces, according to the news outlet. Mims was later disciplined for abandoning watch and dereliction of duty, though the Navy did not release details of his punishment.

The Navy also lost a sailor off the coast of North Carolina at the start of June.

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