June 15 (UPI) — A U.S. sailor presumed dead after going missing aboard the USS Shiloh last week, triggering a massive search-and-rescue mission in the waters off Japan, was found hiding on board the ship, Pentagon officials said.
Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 3rd Class Peter Mims was thought to have gone overboard when he was noticed missing June 8 aboard the Shiloh, a cruiser that is part of the USS Ronald Reagan carrier group patrolling waters in the Pacific near Japan.
Helicopters and fixed-wing planes off the Reagan, along with other ships in the group and the Japanese coast guard participated in a massive rescue effort, combing more than 5,500 square miles of open ocean over a period of 50 hours.
When the search was unsuccessful, Mims was presumed dead.
On Tuesday, the crew of the Shiloh located Mims, who had been hiding in an engine room aboard the ship for more than five days. It was unclear how he survived that long or how he went undetected. In a statement, the Navy said an investigation into the incident was underway.
According to Navy Times, Mims was to be flown off the Shiloh for evaluation.
Mims enlisted in the Navy in February 2014 and reported to the Shiloh in August of that year. He had received previous promotions and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon and Sea Service Ribbon.
In a statement, Reagan carrier group commander Rear Adm. Charles Williams said officers were relieved to find Mims alive.
“We are thankful to have found our missing shipmate and appreciate all the hard work of our sailors and Japanese partners in searching for him,” Williams said. “I am relieved that this sailor’s family will not be joining the ranks of Gold Star families that have sacrificed so much for our country.”