After the U.S. Navy called off a massive search for Petty Officer 3rd Class Peter Mims, 23, a sailor believed to have been lost at sea, the missing sailor was found alive on Thursday, aboard his own ship, the USS Shiloh, a guided-missile cruiser. Mims’ sister, Amy James, said in an interview with WJAX, a CBS affiliate, that she could not “believe he’s gone.” As it turned out, her brother was not gone at all, and never was lost, though a search conducted of the USS Shiloh did not result in his crewmates finding him, prompting the idea he might have fallen overboard and was lost at sea.
The Washington Post reported that following a massive search of over 50 hours for Mims, which was conducted by both the Japanese Coast Guard and by U.S. Navy and ships and aircraft, on June 11 at midnight, the search was called off. The search took place in the Philippine Sea and covered approximately 5,500 square miles. Mims had been reported missing by the USS Shiloh on June 8.
Over half a dozen ships from both the U.S. Navy and the Japanese Coast Guard were involved in the search for Mims. Also, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters from several U.S. Navy ships assisted in the comprehensive search.
CNN reported that the aerial search for Mims also utilized “a P-8 maritime patrol aircraft.” Besides the fixed-wing aircraft taking off from the USS Shiloh and USS Ronald Reagan, some also took off from the USS McCampbell. Support for the search was provided by those three ships as well as the USS John S. McCain and USS Barry.
The Navy said in a statement on Thursday that Mims had been found alive. He was not found on some deserted island or clinging for his life to a piece of driftwood, but was found aboard his own ship, the USS Shiloh.
Mims is undergoing a medical evaluation aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. A news release by the Navy stated that Mims’ disappearance from the USS Shiloh on June 8 is currently being investigated.
A news release by the 7th Fleet did not state where aboard the USS Shiloh Mims was finally found. However, a report published in the Navy Times said that Mims, a “gas turbine systems technician,” had been found hiding in an engine room aboard the ship. The USS Shiloh has a crew of over 300 sailors on it and is 567 feet long.
According to ABC News, an U.S. official who spoke to the network stated that a sailor who had the same title as Mims, a Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 3rd Class, would know the engineering spaces aboard the USS Shiloh very well. The same official said that such engineering areas aboard ships like the USS Shiloh are “tight with a lot of equipment and walkways for technicians.”
Another one of Mims’ sisters, Shannon “Nicky” Mims, believes that the news her brother is alive and has not been lost at sea is a cause to celebrate. Instead, she said that she and her family have been getting “hostile messages” via social media sites.
She stated that some people have said cruel things about her brother, like calling him a “disgrace.” She added that finding out her brother is alive should “be a time of rejoicing,” and not a time of “getting hate mail.”
Mims is from Interlachen, Florida. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in February 2014, and in August of the same year, according to the Navy, he reported to serve aboard the USS Shiloh. A source close to the family said that Mims was “small in stature” and stated he looked forward to getting out of the Navy. The source said Mims had just “a few months left” before he could get out.
A Navy sailor thought to have gone missing at sea, or “lost,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Peter Mims, 23, was found on Thursday, on the same ship he was reported “lost” from, the USS Shiloh. His disappearance is the subject of an ongoing investigation. Mims is getting medically evaluated after he was temporarily transferred to the USS Ronald Reagan.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy U.S. Navy