Vehicles | August 18, 2017 11:59 am

USS Fitzgerald Collision: Tales of Heroism and Tragedy on the High Seas

Exploring what happened aboard destroyer after deadly cargo ship collision.

What Happened When USS Fitzgerald Collided With a Cargo Ship in Japan
Damage to the guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald is seen as the vessel is berthed at its mother port in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, on June 18, 2017. The bodies of US sailors missing after their destroyer collided with a container ship off Japan have been found in flooded sleeping berths, a day after the accident tore a huge gash in the warship's side, the US Navy said on June 18. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

Two months after a deadly collision between a U.S. Navy destroyer and a Philippine cargo ship in Japanese waters, which left seven sailors dead, there are still many questions left unanswered.

In an attempt to fill in the blanks of just what happened aboard the USS Fitzgerald—and what heroism and tragedy looked like inside the ship—the Wall Street Journal has produced a close-reading of the incident based on the Navy’s official report. RCLife has teased out some of the more incredible aspects of it:

-At 1:30 a.m., 35 sailors were awoken to a loud noise and jolt, followed by water pouring in, waist-high. There was just one ladder out.

-Because the collision had caused the destroyer to list to its right side, sailors had to swim uphill to get to the exit ladder.

-Two sailors stayed behind to help the 35 men climb to safety—with water rising as high as their necks.

-Just 27 of the 35 escaped via that ladder (a 28th escaped by a different route, one through which he later told investigators “he couldn’t remember exactly how he did it.”)

-All of this likely went in less than 10 minutes.

-One of the men who drowned had helped saved one of his fellow sailors to safety.