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Search Continues For 2nd Sailor

USS Nassau amphibious assault ship (LHA-4), 11-2-02
AP (file)
The Navy ended its sea search for a USS Nassau crew member reported missing, but officials continued searching the ship and said they were not ready to consider the sailor lost at sea.

A search of the Atlantic Ocean and the 833-foot amphibious assault ship began Sunday morning when Petty Officer 1st Class Shaun Dale did not appear at roll call.

The ship has since resumed course for North Carolina, where it was scheduled to disembark its contingent of Marines from Camp Lejeune. The ship was expected to return to its home port of Norfolk later in the week.

"The sea portion of the search has ended," Second Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Ernest Duplessis said Monday. "We are continuing to search on board, and the sailor remains in a 'missing' status.

"Hopefully, he will turn up," Duplessis said.

Lt. Cmdr. Dave Werner, spokesman for the Atlantic Fleet, said Dale listed a home address as Newport News, Va. and that his family had been notified of the search.

Days earlier, another sailor fell overboard from the same ship. Petty Officer 3rd Class Dwayne Williams, 23, is presumed dead.

Williams, of Philadelphia, tripped and fell from the Nassau Friday while chasing a football about 900 miles off the Virginia coast, officials said. The Navy ended its search Sunday without finding Williams' body.

The sailor's brother, Curtis Williams, told the CBS News Early Show that in order to learn more about Dwayne William's mishap, he intended to meet the ship on its return to port.

"We still have a lot of questions, you know, about the exact details," Curtis said. "We wanted to sit down … with at least some of the people who … were actually there."

Duplessis said he did not know how often sailors are lost at sea or how unusual it might be for two sailors to go missing from the same ship at almost the same time.

According to statistics from the Naval Safety Center, four sailors died in what the service calls "mishaps afloat" between October and May 21. During the previous federal fiscal year, five sailors died in such circumstances.