Bodies of 6 Killed in U.S. Navy Ship Fire Arrive in Philippines

From Associated Press

The bodies of six sailors killed in a fire aboard a U.S. Navy supply ship were flown Wednesday to Clark Air Base, north of Manila.

About 100 people were on hand when the coffins, each draped in an American flag, were taken off a Navy C-2 transport plane.

The sailors were killed and five others injured when fire broke out Tuesday in the engine room of the combat supply ship White Plains in the South China Sea east of Hong Kong.

"We mourn six brave Americans in this tragic accident," Rear Adm. Roger Rich, commander of U.S. naval forces in the Philippines, said during the half-hour ceremony. "This is an irreplaceable loss for our country."

The fatalities were identified as Boiler Technician 3rd Class Muoi Cao, 22, of Ventura, Calif.; Fireman Apprentice Todd Allan Follis, 22, of Lake Nebagamon, Wis.; Machinist Mate-Fireman Apprentice Paul Dennis Novotny, 22, of Howells, Neb.; Fireman Apprentice Darryl D. Edwards, 20, of Flossmoor, Ill.; Boiler Technician Baxter Lesarlley, 26, of Santa Fe, N.M., and Boiler Technician 2nd Class Jon David Ruhmel, 20, Elmira, N.Y.

All the injured, who were airlifted to the military hospital at Clark, were reported in stable condition Wednesday.

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