US Navy identifies sailor ‘lost overboard’ in Baltic Sea as North Carolina man

HENDERSON COUNTY, N.C. — The U.S. Navy has identified a sailor who is presumed dead after falling into the Baltic Sea earlier this week, officials said.

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In a Thursday news release, U.S. Fleet Forces Command said Seaman Recruit David L. Spearman, a North Carolina native assigned to the USS Arleigh Burke, was “lost overboard” Monday near Helsinki. Spearman’s family also confirmed that the 19-year-old, who went through training at Surface Warfare Engineering School Command in Illinois, was the sailor who vanished, according to WSOC-TV and WLOS-TV.

The Navy previously reported that crews conducted but later called off search and rescue efforts for the man.

In a statement, Cmdr. Pete Flynn, the ship’s commanding officer, described Spearman as a “bright young man” who “made an oversized positive impact on Arleigh Burke.”

“My entire crew’s thoughts and prayers are with Seaman Recruit Spearman’s family and friends,” the statement continued. “Thank you to the Swedish and German navies, the U.S. Air Force and the sailors from Arleigh Burke for their extensive efforts to search for our shipmate.”

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