DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The U.S. Navy said Tuesday it halted its search for a sailor believed to have gone overboard from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the northern Arabian Sea.
The Navy identified the missing sailor as Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Ian McKnight. He disappeared Sunday, sparking a ship-wide search before the Navy sounded a “man overboard” alert for him.
“We are deeply saddened as we call off the search,” said Capt. Max Clark, the vessel’s commanding officer. “We hold his family and friends in our hearts during this difficult time.”
The Navy said an investigation continued into McKnight’s disappearance.
The Nimitz, whose home port is Bremerton, Washington, has been in the Arabian Sea since late July with its 5,000 sailors and Marines. It replaced the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The Eisenhower had spent months in the Arabian Sea on a deployment that saw the carrier break the Navy’s previous at-sea record. Navy officials have limited port calls due to the ongoing pandemic.
The Nimitz’s arrival in the Mideast saw Iran conduct a live-fire drill targeting a mockup aircraft carrier resembling it.
The drill underlined the lingering threat of military conflict between Iran and the U.S. after a series of escalating incidents last year led to an American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad. Tehran responded to that strike by firing ballistic missiles that wounded dozens of American forces in Iraq.