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Bodies of missing sailors found after collision between U.S. Navy destroyer, Philippine ship

Click to play video: '7 U.S. sailors missing after U.S. Navy Destroyer collides with merchant ship' 7 U.S. sailors missing after U.S. Navy Destroyer collides with merchant ship
WATCH: 7 U.S. sailors missing after U.S. Navy Destroyer collides with merchant ship – Jun 17, 2017

The U.S. Navy says the bodies of sailors who went missing in the collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship have been found aboard the stricken destroyer.

The Navy says in a statement that searchers had gained access to the spaces that were damaged during the collision. A total of seven sailors had been missing since Saturday’s crash off Japan‘s coast.

Victims’ remains are being transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka where they will be identified.

WATCH: The USS Fitzgerald came close to sinking or foundering after the collision with a container ship ripped a big gash under the warships waterline, the commander of the United States Navy’s Seventh Fleet said on Sunday.
Click to play video: 'Collision caused significant damage to US destroyer: Seventh Fleet commander' Collision caused significant damage to US destroyer: Seventh Fleet commander
Collision caused significant damage to US destroyer: Seventh Fleet commander – Jun 18, 2017

READ MORE: 7 missing and several injured after US destroyer collides with Philippine container ship

It says the families are being notified and being provided the support they need during “this difficult time.” The names of the sailors will be released after all notifications are made.

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Aircraft and vessels had been looking for the missing personnel since the two ships crashed in the pre-dawn hours Saturday.

The USS Fitzgerald is back at its home port in Yokosuka Naval Base south of Tokyo, with extensive damage to its hull.

The Navy says the ship was damaged above and below the water line.

WATCH: U.S. Navy destroyer heavily damaged after collision with merchant ship

Click to play video: 'U.S. Navy destroyer heavily damaged after collision with merchant ship' U.S. Navy destroyer heavily damaged after collision with merchant ship
U.S. Navy destroyer heavily damaged after collision with merchant ship – Jun 16, 2017

In a tweet Sunday, the Navy says the search for the missing sailors is continuing.

Investigators now face trying to determine how a sophisticated U.S. warship collided with a container ship four times its size.

Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump thanked Japan for its help in the search.

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