Navy continues to investigate
explosion on USS Cole (DDG 67)

Washington, D.C., Oct. 13, 2000 While the Navy continues its investigation into Thursday's explosion on Arleigh Burke-class USS Cole (DDG 67) in Aden, Yemen, the ship is now stable and has some power restored. Repair teams are on board assessing the situation and planning further repairs. Divers have conducted preliminary inspections of the hull and say the keel is not damaged.

Navy medical personnel, communications and security personnel have arrived in Aden and are providing assistance to the crew. Explovive Ordnance Detachment personnel, and Navy investigators are also on the scene and are working to determine the cause of the incident, along with FBI and other federal officials.

Two U.S. Navy ships, USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) and USS Hawes (FFG 53), are in the area providing repair and logistical support.

While the cause of the explosion is uncertain at this time, it appears to be the result of an explosion on board a small boat as it approached Cole yesterday morning when the ship was pulling into Aden, Yemen, to take on fuel. The explosion occurred at 12:15 p.m. Bahrain time (5:15 a.m. EDT), Oct. 12, causing a 30-foot by 40-foot gash in the port (left) side of the ship at the waterline. Damage control efforts to manage flooding in the ship's engineering spaces are reported successful by Thursday evening.

Seven Sailors were killed and 10 Sailors remain missing. Also, approximately 33 have been injured, some severely. Of these, eight were transferred to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center near Ramstein, Germany, this morning and the remaining injured Sailors are enroute to that hospital. There are no Sailors remaining in Yemeni hospitals. The Navy is continuing to the search and rescue efforts for the missing Sailors. French military officials assisted in an earlier medivac of 11 injured personnel to a hospital in Djibouti.

Some injured crew members are expected to return to the ship's homeport of Norfolk, Va., in the next two days. Also, remains of some of those killed in the explosion are expected to be returned to the U.S. over the weekend. A memorial service is being planned and is tentatively scheduled for Norfolk on Wednesday.

Cole is an Arleigh Burke-class, or Aegis, guided missile destroyer, based in Norfolk, Va. The ship is part of the USS George Washington Battle Group, and was in transit from the Red Sea to a port visit in Bahrain when the ship stopped in Aden for routine refueling. Cole departed Norfolk for its deployment Aug. 8 and is scheduled to return home Dec. 21.

Yemen is the Defense Fuel Support Point that has been open just over a year. It has been used 12 times in the past year, usually when an oiler is not part of the battle group. The fueling point is in the center of an industrial harbor and consists of concrete pilings built specifically for commercial refueling. The piping runs under the harbor and the fuel is taken directly form those pipes.

Family members of Sailors on board USS Cole can call 800-368-3202 for updates.


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