Saturday, July 11, 2009

Search Ends for Missing USS Shiloh Sailor

News in Balance
News from the U.S. Navy.

News in Balance:

YOKOSUKA, Japan, July 11, 2009 -- The U.S. Navy announced July 11 that it has ended the search for the missing crew member from USS Shiloh (CG 67) who fell overboard as the ship entered Tokyo Bay on July 8.

Electrician's Mate 1st Class Christopher Geathers, 30, was conducting routine operations to rig shore power cables in preparation for the ship's return to port when witnesses reported that he fell from the fantail.

The incident occurred shortly after 1 p.m. local time on July 8 as USS Shiloh was returning to Yokosuka following a Midshipmen training cruise to Kure, Japan.

Ships and aircraft from the U.S. Navy, working closely with vessels and aircraft from the Japan Coast Guard, conducted an extensive search of Tokyo Bay and its coastline for two and a half days but were unable to locate Geathers.

After a thorough review of search and rescue data collected during this period, Navy officials determined that every reasonable effort had been expended, and expectations for recovery no longer existed. Search operations concluded at 6 p.m. on July 10.

The search operations included USS Shiloh and another U.S. Navy destroyer, three Japan Coast Guard cutters, tugboats and other small craft. A dedicated bilingual liaison officer was assigned to the Japan Coast Guard operations center to assist in coordinating the search efforts. Additionally, U.S. Navy and Japan Coast Guard helicopters flew a significant number of dedicated missions including through the night with night vision goggles and forward-looking infrared equipment.

Geathers' home of record is Greenpond, S.C. He enlisted in the Navy in 1997. His previous duty stations include Southeast Regional Maintenance Center, Mayport, Fla.; USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), Yokosuka, Japan; USS Cowpens (CG 63), Yokosuka, Japan; and USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), San Diego, Calif. His awards and decorations include three awards of the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

The incident is under investigation.

(Report from a U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs news release.)

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