Navy: 'Overconfidence' caused deadly ship crash

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Pictured: U.S.S. John McCain (Photo from U.S. Navy) Pictured: U.S.S. John McCain (Photo from U.S. Navy)

WASHINGTON (WAND) – The U.S. Navy says crew error helped cause a ship collision that killed an Illinois soldier.

A statement from the Navy described “complacency and overconfidence” as factors that led to the U.S.S. John McCain and merchant vessel Alnic MC colliding on Aug. 21 near Singapore. The collision created a hole in the side of the McCain, flooding compartments and causing 10 deaths.

Harristown man Logan Palmer died in the crash. He was an interior communications electrician on the McCain.  

The Navy says crew members did not know enough about how to operate the U.S.S. McCain’s control console, adding some of them lacked training. A press release describes how former commanding officer Cmdr. Alfredo Sanchez “disregarded recommendations” from his executive officer, in which he was asked to set sea and prepare watch teams quickly.

 The Navy fired Sanchez, along with former executive officer Cmdr. Jessie Sanchez, after the crash. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said the Navy “must do better” and avoid collisions.

"We are a Navy that learns from mistakes and the Navy is firmly committed to doing everything possible to prevent an accident like this from happening again,” said Richardson. “We must never allow an accident like this to take the lives of such magnificent young Sailors and inflict such painful grief on their families and the nation.”

Richardson went on to say the “vast majority” of sailors were effective and professional in their work. 

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