Disaster At Sea

Texas Monthly


“I think I’m prepared both mentally and physically for the office.”

—Recently elected San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg to the San Antonio Express-News. Nirenberg is a competitive body builder and weightlifter. At his peak, he could bench press 320 pounds, dead lift 600, and squat 450. He still works out about three times a week and regularly benches 225 pounds.


Disaster At Sea

A Texas sailor was found dead after the Navy’s USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine container ship off the coast of Japan early Saturday morning. Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, a 26-year-old Welasco native, was among the seven sailors found dead after the 30,000-ton container vessel tore a massive gash under the destroyer’s waterline and flooded two crew compartments, the radio room and the auxiliary machine room, according to Reuters. Commander Ron Flanders, a spokesperson for the U.S. Naval Forces in Japan, told KRGV that the sailors had just minutes to escape. “The crew shined in this moment and kept the ship afloat,” Flanders said. “Unfortunately, two of the ship’s crew berthing spaces where the sailors were sleeping were flooded, and seven sailors were trapped inside and were lost at that time.” Multiple agencies are investigating the cause of the crash, including the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, Japan’s Coast Guard, and Japan’s Transport Safety Board, the Washington Post reports. According to Reuters, this was the deadliest disaster involving a U.S. Navy vessel since the USS Cole was bombed off the coast of Yemen in 2000, killing 17 sailors. Collisions like this are extremely rare. The last time a warship was hit by a larger vessel during peacetime was likely in 1964, when Australia’s HMAS Melbourne, an aircraft carrier, crashed into the destroyer HMAS Voyager off the coast of Australia, killing 82 members of the Voyager’s crew. The U.S. Navy will hold a memorial service for the seven people killed next week.