The Navy ended search-and-rescue efforts Tuesday for a sailor believed to have gone overboard this weekend from an aircraft carrier deployed to the Middle East.
Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Ian McKnight, 29, was not found following an extensive search in the North Arabian Sea after he was reported missing Sunday. McKnight is assigned to the carrier Nimitz, which searched for him, aided by the guided-missile cruiser Princeton and Navy and Air Force aircraft.
“We are deeply saddened as we call off the search for IT2 Ian McKnight,” Capt. Max Clark, commanding officer of the Nimitz, said in a statement Tuesday. “We hold his family and friends in our hearts during this difficult time.”
McKnight, a newly frocked petty officer second class, remains listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown. His family has been notified of his status, according to the Navy news release announcing the end of search-and-rescue efforts.
His disappearance, which remains under investigation, prompted a search of the ship and man-overboard alert. McKnight and the rest of the Nimitz crew have been operating in the Middle East since July.
The Nimitz is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 11, which left the U.S. in June. The strike group, according to the Navy, is deployed to ensure maritime stability and security in the region connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the Western Indian Ocean.
McKnight, who’s from North Carolina, according to his service records, enlisted in the Navy in February 2018. Before reporting to the Nimitz last year, he attended Information Warfare Training Command Corry Station in Pensacola, Florida.
He is at least the third sailor or naval officer believed to have gone overboard in the last two years.
Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Saldana was declared dead last summer following a search after he was believed to have fallen into the Arabian Sea while deployed on the carrier Abraham Lincoln. In 2018, Lt. j.g. Asante McCalla was reported missing from the guided-missile cruiser Lake Erie off the coast of California.
“The strike group team sends our thoughts and prayers to the family of Petty Officer McKnight,” said Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, Carrier Strike Group 11’s commander. “And I offer my thanks to all the Sailors and Airmen who were involved in the search for our shipmate.”
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