Six sailors from HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s largest and most powerful aircraft carrier, were reportedly arrested and taken into custody over drunk and disorderly behavior in Jacksonville, Florida, this week.
The sailors, who were on shore leave, were arrested after locals found them fighting and urinating in public, the BBC reported.
The incident took place on late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning, according to Jacksonville’s local WJAX-TV station.
Most of them were taken into custody on drunk and disorderly charges, The Florida Times-Union reported.
Three of them were also charged with resisting arrest. One pushed and pulled an officer, one was actively fighting and refused to stop, and another refused to put his hands behind his back and was ultimately stunned by a Taser, according to WJAX-TV.
The group was held overnight before being released back onboard the warship on Thursday morning, The Sun reported.
HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived in the U.S. this week after leaving the UK on August 18. It is on its way to carry out F-35 trials at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland with U.S. and British pilots later this month.
The British navy acknowledged the incident but declined to provide further comment.
A spokesperson for the Royal Navy told Business Insider in a statement:
“We can confirm that a number of naval personnel are assisting US police with their enquiries – it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.
“The Naval Service places great importance on maintaining the highest possible standards of behaviour from its personnel at all times.”
Sergeant Larry Smith of the Jacksonville Beach Police Department also confirmed that all the arrests were related to alcohol, but that they were “a case of good people making bad decisions.”
Smith told the Sun:
“Our officers went down to the ship to speak to their commanders, and while they were still out on the town on Thursday night, there were no more problems from the sailors.
“It was a case of good people making bad decisions, they got drunk and they fought among themselves.
“It happens. They seem to beat the mess out of each other and knock their teeth out, but once they pick up their teeth off the ground they hug and then are best friends again.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest and most powerful aircraft carrier in British history. It took eight years to build and cost the Royal Navy £3.5 billion ($4.6 billion).
It is home to 900 people — 700 Royal Navy members and 200 industry personnel.
The deployment to the U.S. is significant because it will mark the first fighter jet landing on a British aircraft carrier in eight years since the decommissioning of HMS Ark Royal.
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