Raleigh, N.C. — The Raleigh-based mother of a U.S. Navy sailor said her son survived a direct hit to his sleeping bunk during a collision at sea on Sunday near the Japanese coast.
Mia Sykes told The Associated Press that her 19-year-old son Brayden Harden was knocked out of his bed by the impact, and water immediately began filling the berth.
Sykes says her son kept diving back down to try to save his shipmates until the flooded berth began running out of air pockets.
According to Sykes, Harden said told that the men sleeping on bunks above and below him were among the seven who died. Sykes says her son told her that sailors initially believed they were under attack and some immediately went to man the guns.
Harden is from Herrin, Illinois and was recently redeployed.