The small vessel disregarded warnings as it approached the U.S. ship near Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates. NBC's Brian Williams reports.
WASHINGTON – U.S. officials told NBC News on Tuesday that a small civilian boat was within 150 yards of a U.S. Navy ship in the Persian Gulf when it was fired upon, killing one and wounding three others on board.
The small skiff was heading straight for the USNS Rappahannock and ignored repeated warnings before the ship’s crew opened fire with a 50-caliber machine gun, officials said.
The entire incident took place within a three-minute window about 10 miles offshore from Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Monday.
Pentagon officials on Tuesday released detailed timings of the incident, which began at 2:50 p.m. local time (5:50 a.m. ET). All times local.
The vessel, a motorized skiff, sighted at 5 miles, approaching Rappahannock from starboard (right) side at 20-25 knots.
The skiff now at 1200 yards when it turned inbound, headed directly for the Rappahannock
Rappahannock begins first phase of non-lethal warnings, radio, flashing lights. At 900 yards, the crew on the skiff ignores warnings and continues course directly at Rappahannock.
Now at 150 yards, skiff continues to ignore non-lethal warnings and continues course at Rappahannock.
As the skiff approaches 100 yards, the Rappahannock security team opens fire with a 50-caliber machine gun, killing one and wounding three others on board. The skiff slows for the first time, turns and circles around the stern and moves slowly up the port (left) side.
About 90 yards off the Rappahannock, the skiff comes to a stop. Rappahannock goes to full speed to put distance between the two vessels. The skiff is then seen departing the area.
It is unclear whether the dead and injured are from the United Arab Emirates or India, but U.S officials stress there is no indication that Iran or Iranians were in anyway involved.
The Pentagon also announced Monday that it is sending the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis to the Persian Gulf region – four months earlier than previously scheduled. The Stennis strike group, which also includes the Aegis guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay and some 5,500 sailors, will also be on an eight month deployment – twice as long as the group was originally scheduled to be deployed.
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