Two U.S. Navy SEALs were reported dead Sunday after they went missing at sea overnight during a raid on a small boat off Somalia.
The 10-day mission has shifted from search and rescue to rescue, US Central Command said in a statement.
“After an exhaustive 10-day search, our two missing US Navy SEALs have not been located and we regret to announce that their status has been changed to deceased,” it said.
Neither was publicly identified, and CENTCOM said further information was not immediately available “out of respect” for their families.
Two U.S. defense officials said one of the SEALs fell into the water while trying to board the vessel amid rough seas. According to protocol, a second dive was made after the first, officials said.
CENTCOM said on Sunday that the Jan. 11 raid was due to “Iranian advanced conventional weapons” on board the ship, known as the Dhow.
“We mourn the loss of two of our Navy Special Warfare veterans, and we will forever honor their sacrifice and example,” Gen. Michael Eric Guerrilla said in a statement from CENTCOM. “Our prayers go out to the SEALs' families, friends, the U.S. Navy, and the entire special operations community at this time.”
Somalia's coastline includes the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Kardafui, and the Indian Ocean. U.S. military officials, who did not specify the exact location of the incident, and personnel from the United States, Japan and Spain searched more than 21,000 miles.
It included assistance from the Naval Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, US Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command, the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Maritime Support Division of Naval Research.