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Divers Recover Remains from Flooded Portion of Cole

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2000 – Navy divers have recovered the remains of six sailors killed in the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen Oct. 12. This leaves six sailors still missing.

Officials are working to identify the sailors and inform their families. The divers continue a dangerous search inside the ship, said Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley.

Four more sailors injured in the explosion have been reunited with family and friends at Portsmouth (Va.) Naval Hospital. This leaves two sailors still in Germany. "Their medical condition precludes transporting them, although the intent is to move them as soon as possible," Quigley said.

The Cole remains stable and continues to provide its own electrical power, officials said. Other U.S. ships are in Aden providing help to the stricken vessel and the investigation into the attack. The frigate USS Hawes and destroyer USS Donald Cook were the first U.S. vessels on the scene and continue to provide logistic and security support.

In addition, the Tarawa Amphibious Ready Group arrived in Aden Oct. 17. The group, composed of the assault ship USS Tarawa, amphibious transport USS Duluth and dock landing ship USS Anchorage, will provide food, lodging and medical aid to the U.S. teams in Aden to recover the Cole and investigate the attack. The ships' helicopters will also provide transportation for the Americans in Yemen. Quigley said FBI agents and others living in hotels now would move to one of the ships "to reduce our footprint in Aden."

Quigley said the FBI is working with Naval Criminal Investigation Service agents, State Department officials and local law enforcement personnel to identify the perpetrators. He said he would not release the findings of the investigators, saying he did not want to give terrorists any view on the U.S. effort.

The Navy has let a contract with a Norwegian firm that owns the Blue Marlin, a heavy lift ship that will haul the Cole aboard and carry it piggyback to its home port of Norfolk. The transport is six days away in the United Arab Emirate of Dubai. Loading the Cole will take eight days, and the voyage home will take another 25. The Cole crew will fly home once their ship is aboard the Blue Marlin.

The Navy created a USS Cole Web site with the Blue Marlin story and extensive links at www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/news/news_stories/cole.html.

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