Dec. 11 (UPI) — The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt began a search off the Southern California coast for a possible sailor overboard, the Navy announced on Friday.
The Nimitz-class vessel initiated search and rescue procedures after the sighting of what appeared to be a person in the water. One member of the ship’s personnel was unaccounted for during a ship-wide assembly on Thursday, the Navy’s Third Fleet said in a statement.
The search so far has included the participation of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy helicopters, a rigid hull inflatable boat and the cruiser USS Bunker Hill, the destroyers USS Howard and USS Russell and the USS littoral combat ship Charleston.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt left San Diego, its homeport, on Monday for its second deployment of the year.
Its entire strike group was in quarantine since mid-November after the Navy confirmed two new onboard cases of COVID-19.
In July, the ship returned to San Diego after six months in the Pacific Ocean for an extended deployment as sailors fought a COVID-19 outbreak on board.
Nearly one-fifth of its crew of about 5,000 was found to have the virus, and one, CPO Charles Robert Thacker Jr., died from complications of the infection. The incident caused a leadership shakeup aboard the ship and ultimately in the Navy itself.
Capt. Brett Crozier, the ship’s commander, was fired following media reports of a memo pleading for more help in containing the outbreak.
Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly publicly criticized Crozier for allowing the memo to go public in a profanity-laden tirade to sailors on the ship, which was docked in Guam at the time as sailors and other personnel were isolated and working to contain the outbreak. Modly later resigned his position.