Ex-State Dept. spox: People ‘will be held to account’ for destroyer collision

Former State Department spokesman and Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said on Saturday that the Navy will likely hold to account whomever is responsible for a warship collision off the coast of Japan. 

"It is rare for U.S. Navy warships to suffer collisions, to be involved in collisions," Kirby, now a CNN analyst, said on the network. "And it's also an extremely serious thing to happen. Obviously, in this case, it's very, very serious, given the damage and the fact that we still have seven sailors we can't account for."

"And the investigation will take a look at all that," he added. "I can promise you it will be very thorough and there will be people held to account for this. The Navy is very firm about that. There's no question that there will be a measure of accountability applied here."

ADVERTISEMENT

The USS Fitzgerald, a guided-missile destroyer, collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship Saturday morning local time, leaving seven U.S. sailors unaccounted for. Two crew members, including the destroyer's commanding officer, were medically evacuated. 

The warship was towed to Yokosuka Naval Base on Japan's east coast, where the full extent of the damage is still being assessed. 

Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in a statement shortly after the incident that the collision it would be investigated.