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US Sailor Missing in South China Sea

FILE - Chinese Navy personnel stand guard as guided missile destroyer USS Stethem arrives at the Shanghai International Passenger Quay for a scheduled port visit in Shanghai, China, Nov. 16, 2015.

American and Japanese ships and aircraft are searching for a missing American sailor in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said.

The sailor, whose name is being withheld, was reported missing from the USS Stethem destroyer around 9:00am local time Tuesday. The ship was “conducting routine operations” in the South China Sea at the time, according to a Navy statement.

Sailors aboard the vessel have carried out multiple searches of the ship to try to locate the sailor.

The Joint Personnel Recovery Center Hawaii also is assisting with this search, the Navy said.

This is the Navy’s second effort to find a missing sailor in the Asia-Pacific region within the last two months.

In June, a sailor on the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh was reported missing off Okinawa, and a 50-hour search ensued. The sailor was discover days later hiding in one of the ship’s engineering spaces.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.