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Navy, Coast Guard search for sailor overboard after USS Theodore Roosevelt departs San Diego

The USS Theodore Roosevelt leaves San Diego Harbor for deployment on Monday.
(Jarrod Valliere / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Three days after the USS Theodore Roosevelt set out from San Diego, a sailor apparently went overboard off the coast of Southern California, Navy officials said.

Crews aboard the San Diego-based aircraft carrier began search-and-rescue efforts Thursday morning after a lookout spotted what appeared to be a person in the water, according to a news release from the U.S. 3rd Fleet. The initial search involved three helicopters and a small inflatable watercraft.

During a command-wide muster, the carrier crew learned one sailor was missing, according to Navy officials.

Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a spokesman for the San Diego-based U.S. 3rd Fleet, said a public announcement of the incident was delayed until the Navy could notify the sailor’s family.

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An investigation of the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier’s coronavirus outbreak could boost knowledge of how it spreads and aid a vaccine.

By Thursday night, the search-and-rescue efforts included the Coast Guard, Navy aircraft and the USS Bunker Hill, USS Russell, USS Howard and USS Charleston.

The Roosevelt left San Diego on Monday for a scheduled deployment, five months after returning to port following an ill-fated deployment that saw a quarter of its crew infected with the coronavirus.

A Navy official declined to comment on where the Roosevelt would go or how long its deployment might be, though West Coast carriers commonly deploy to the western Pacific, Indian Ocean or the Persian Gulf.

Riggins writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune, where staff writer Andrew Dyer contributed to this report.


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