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U.S. sailor missing from USS Nimitz aircraft carrier in Arabian Sea

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz is pushed into port by tug boats at Pearl Harbor in a March 11, 2003 file photo, in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Phil Mislinski/Getty

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — The U.S. Navy searched through the night into Monday morning for a sailor who went missing from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz during its patrol of the northern Arabian Sea amid tension with Iran.

The crew aboard the Nimitz sounded a "man overboard" alert at 6:47 p.m. on Sunday, after being unable to find the sailor aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, said Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet. That was after an extensive search of the Nimitz, America's oldest carrier in active service that carries some 5,000 sailors and Marines.

The Nimitz, the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton and other 5th Fleet personnel continued their search on Monday, Rebarich said. She declined to identify the missing sailor, citing Navy policy.

The Nimitz, whose homeport is Bremerton, Washington, has been in the Arabian Sea since late July. It replaced the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, which had spent months in the Arabian Sea on its deployment that saw the carrier break the Navy's previous at-sea record. Navy officials have limited port calls due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Iran Persian Gulf Tensions
In a photo released on July 28, 2020 by Sepahnews, Revolutionary Guard speed boats circle a replica aircraft carrier during an Iranian military exercise. Iran's Revolutionary Guard fired a missile from a helicopter targeting the mock aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Sepahnews via AP

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.

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