Irish Lass Hitches a Ride to America; 5 Sailors Land in the Brig

Associated Press

An Irish teen-ager with a history of running away from home stowed away on a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer, and five sailors accused of helping her survive the 10-day voyage have been arrested, officials said Wednesday.

Police in Ireland identified the girl as Suzanne Twomey, 16, of Cork. She was hospitalized in satisfactory condition Wednesday after she became ill and her return to Ireland was delayed.

The sailors accused of helping her while the destroyer Conyngham was at sea were being held at the Norfolk Naval Base.

The teen-ager was found aboard the destroyer Saturday, when it returned from a visit to Ireland. She was being taken to Atlanta to board a return flight when she became ill.

Delay for Hospitalization

After an emergency landing Tuesday night in Raleigh, N. C., the girl was taken to Rex Hospital. She was released Wednesday evening.

Charles Coble Jr., an agent with the Naval Investigative Service, said travel arrangements were being made for the girl. He would not elaborate, and neither he nor hospital officials would say where she was spending the night Wednesday.

The girl apparently came aboard the Conyngham while it was in Cork Harbor on a courtesy call. Officials said they believe she arrived with guests at an open house the ship gave during the visit.

Lt. Cmdr. John W. Lloyd, speaking for the fleet in Norfolk, said the girl was discovered in a 2 1/2-by-15-foot passageway after the ship docked.

Food, Water Aid Seen

The five sailors who allegedly helped her are in the base brig, Lloyd said. He said that some of the men apparently brought her food and water during the 10-day crossing, but that no charges had yet been filed.

A Dublin policeman who would not give his name said the girl was reported missing by her parents, John and Christine Twomey. He said she is the eldest of four children, has run away from home several times and once had to be returned home from Spain.

Her parents refused to talk with members of the press.

The girl at first told Navy officials that she was orphaned when she was 13 and always wanted to come to America and find work.

"There are no options but for her to return to Ireland," said Irish Embassy spokesman Daire O'Criodain, noting that Twomey is a minor and has no passport.

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