Navy ends search for missing USS Nimitz sailor

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The Navy has ended search and rescue efforts for Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Ian McKnight, a 29-year-old sailor from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz who has been missing since Sept. 6, Navy officials announced on Tuesday.

“We are deeply saddened as we call off the search for IT2 Ian McKnight,” Capt. Max Clark, commanding officer of Nimitz, said in a statement. “We hold his family and friends in our hearts during this difficult time.”

(Facebook photo)

Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Ian McKnight

For now, McKnight’s status remains Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown, a 5th Fleet news release says. The incident is under investigation.

Navy officials believe that McKnight went overboard on Sept. 6 while the Nimitz was in the North Arabian Sea, the news release says. 

Both the Nimitz and the cruiser USS Princeton searched for the missing sailor along with aircraft from the Navy and Air Force, but they were ultimately unable to find McKnight.

Originally from North Carolina, McKnight joined the Navy in February 2018 and was frocked as petty officer second class on Aug. 1, according to the Navy. 

His military awards include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Sharpshooter 9MM Pistol.

“The strike group team sends our thoughts and prayers to the family of Petty Officer McKnight,” Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander of Carrier Strike Group 11, said in a statement. “And I offer my thanks to all the Sailors and Airmen who were involved in the search for our shipmate.” 

Related: Navy identifies missing sailor who reportedly went overboard from the USS Abraham Lincoln