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Sailors Solemn on Return From Crippled Submarine With PM-Submarine Fire, Bjt

April 26, 1988

MAYPORT NAVAL STATION, Fla. (AP) _ Two seriously injured sailors from the USS Bonefish will remain hospitalized for at least two days, but most of the other sailors hurt after an explosion on the submarine will be released shortly, officials said today.

Nick Young, a Navy spokesman, said Tuesday that 19 of the 22 hospitalized sailors would probably be released today from a hospital at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station and flown to their homeport in Charleston.

Sixty-seven uninjured fellow officers and crewmen solemnly returned home Monday while the Navy continued its search for three sailors missing since Sunday afternoon’s accident in the Atlantic 160 miles east of Florida. The injured were taken from the disabled sub aboard the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy.

The only two that will definitely have to stay at least 48 hours are Lt. Edmund Collins, 34, of Park Forest, Ill., and Petty Officer 1st Class Antone Silvia, of Fort Lauderdale, said Lt. Cmdr. John Crowell, the hospital’s administrator. They were listed in serious condition.

The injured crewmen will receive X-rays and pulmonary function tests to see if they have recovered from the effects of smoke inhalation, he said.

Most of the injured crewmen suffered smoke inhalation, Young said. The submarine had a crew of 92 men.

Young said none of the sailors here was expected to talk to the media about their experience after being released from the hospital.

The uninjured sailors, many wearing blue coveralls and some of them shoeless, also refused to answer reporters’ questions here or after they returned to their home base in Charleston, S.C.

A few carried small plastic bags, apparently holding personal belongings.

Sailors arriving at the Charleston Air Force Base looked grim as they walked across the windy tarmac to meet relatives. One sailor’s head was bandaged.

About 30 people, many holding balloons, greeted the plane there.

One woman held a single yellow rose aloft. Another held a balloon with the legend ″P.S. I Love You″ and wore their own base, sailors sitting at the windows were asked if they were all right.

″Yes,″ one unidentified sailor said. ″Thank God for that.″

Lee and Alice Causey of Jacksonville drove to Mayport to greet their son, Petty Officer 1st Class Avery L. Causey, 30.

″He didn’t say much. He was just glad to be back,″ Causey said. ″It’s good to see him. I was on a submarine for 21 years, so I know what he’s going through.″

Chaplain Bill Perry went aboard the other rescue ship, the frigate USS Carr, at Mayport and visited the Bonefish crewmen.

The general mood was ″overwhelming fatigue,″ he said, adding that most had been up all night and many had been on watch the night before. Most spent the night in the Carr’s mess hall, talking about the experience.

″They’ve been through a real trauma,″ Perry said.

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