Five Navy ships, Navy aircraft and the U.S. Coast Guard are searching for a sailor who is presumed to have gone overboard from the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

The ship’s crew initiated the search and rescue efforts after a lookout spotted what appeared to be a person in the water at 7:30 a.m., officials from the Third Fleet announced Thursday night, Dec. 10.

A sailor was unaccounted for during a command-wide muster, officials said, three search-and-rescue helicopters and a rigid-hull inflatable boat were launched Thursday morning in response.

The USS Bunker Hill, USS Russell, USS Howard and USS Charleston are also participating in the search.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt left San Diego on Monday for a second 2020 deployment.

On Jan. 17, the aircraft carrier left the San Diego with about 4,845 sailors aboard for deployment with a strike force of six ships to provide maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region.

In early March, the coronavirus pandemic that was spreading around the globe made its way onto the ship, and by mid-April, 1,273 sailors were sick. The aircraft carrier was forced to stop in Guam so the infected crew could be quarantined. Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr. died.

The ship returned to San Diego on July 9. It had been in quarantine since mid-November, as part of the Navy’s COVID-19 mitigation procedures prior to major training or deployment.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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