Navy sailor reported overboard found alive on ship

Sailor from Putnam County found hiding in engine room, Navy Times reports


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A U.S. Navy sailor from Putnam County, who was presumed dead after being reported missing from a warship last week in Japan's southern waters, was found Thursday alive aboard the ship, the Navy said.

He was hiding in the engine room, according to a report from the Navy Times.

Peter Mims, of  Interlachen, was believed to have fallen into the sea from the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh during routine operations about 180 miles east of Okinawa, and a massive search-and-rescue effort was suspended Sunday.

Mims, a turbine technician, will be flown off the Shiloh for an evaluation on the USS Ronald Reagan.

“We are thankful to have found our missing shipmate and appreciate all the hard work of our sailors and Japanese partners in searching for him,” said Rear Adm. Charles Williams, commander, Carrier Strike Group 5 and Task Force 70. “I am relieved that this sailor’s family will not be joining the ranks of Gold Star Families that have sacrificed so much for our country.”

It's unclear how Mims survived a week in the engineering space or where exactly he was hiding, the Navy Times said.

Local maritime expert Rod Sullivan said it would have been extremely difficult for Mims to stay hidden on the ship for a week, because most rooms around an engine are typically 100 degrees or higher, sometimes closer to 120. 

It’s impossible to know specifically what the layout of the room was where Mims was found, but Sullivan said Mims would have had to find a way to handle possible high heat and hydrate himself, as well. That led Sullivan to wonder whether Mims had help to stay hidden.

The Navy is investigating the circumstances surrounding Mims' disappearance.

“That's hard to believe,” Interlachen resident Torrence Poole said after Mims was found hiding. “He should be court martialed or something. I thought he was dead or something.”

Poole wasn't alone. Most residents in the Interlachen area believed Mims had died after the search was called off.

Mims graduated from Interlachen High School in 2013 and enlisted in the Navy in 2014, reporting to the Shiloh in August that year. He has earned a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

News4Jax has made several attempts to speak with Mims' family, but they have declined to comment.

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