- Two Navy SEALs are missing after falling into the ocean near Somalia on Thursday, according to reports.
- Search and rescue operations appear to be still ongoing.
- According to reports, two people were on the boat when one fell and the other jumped in to help.
Two Navy SEALs are missing off the coast of Somalia after one fell overboard during a boarding mission Thursday night, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.
According to the Associated Press, the two men were climbing on a ship while on duty in the Gulf of Aden when high waves caused one to fall into the sea.
According to the report, a second group of special forces jumped in after him as part of Navy SEAL procedures to help a comrade in danger, and both men were lost.
U.S. officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
U.S. Central Command said in a statement Friday that search and rescue operations were underway to locate the two sailors, but did not identify them as SEALs.
CENTCOM, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of Defense did not immediately respond to Business Insider's requests for updates Tuesday morning.
U.S. officials told The Washington Post on Monday that military personnel were seizing Iranian missile warheads and other components on a boat off the coast of Somalia at the time of the incident.
One of them slipped on a ladder while trying to board what one official described as a “dhow.” Another person jumped in to help his companion, the newspaper said.
The SEALs aboard the USS Lewis B. Puller used a small special operations fighter boat operated by a Navy special warfare crew to conduct a down attack, the Associated Press reported Monday, citing U.S. defense officials. was moving to the ship.
More than a dozen of the dhow's crew members were detained and their weapons seized before the ship sank, according to the Associated Press, a standard operation to pry holes in the ship's hull.
The accident occurred around 8pm local time, the Associated Press added.
“We have nothing new to offer,” a Pentagon spokesperson told Business Insider early Monday.
The Gulf of Aden has been the center of naval activity in recent weeks. Still, officials told The Associated Press. washington post It said the incident was unrelated to the ongoing U.S. response to Houthi-led attacks on ships in the Red Sea or the seizure of oil tankers by Iran.
But two U.S. officials later told the Post that the two sailors were sent to search for suspected Iranian weapons headed for the Houthis in Yemen.
The newspaper said the U.S. military often works with other countries on anti-piracy missions in the region, sometimes boarding ships to ensure they are properly qualified and not transporting illegal goods. Reported.
The Associated Press reported that the U.S. Navy frequently conducted such interdiction missions to intercept weapons on ships bound for Houthi-controlled Yemen.
Centcom said the two sailors were “forward deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet (C5F) area of operations in support of a wide range of missions.”
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CBS's “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the search “is still ongoing” and that the ship could be used to try to cut off the flow of arms supplies to Yemen. He said he was participating in a “normal interdiction” operation.
“It has nothing to do with the attacks we carried out against the Houthis,” he said.
Correction: January 15, 2024 — An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated when a U.S. Central Command statement was released. It was released on Friday instead of Saturday. John Kirby's position was also misrepresented. He is a spokesperson for the National Security Council, not the Pentagon.