The Coast Guard has located the body of a man who reportedly jumped overboard following a stabbing incident at sea that left another man dead and a third person injured.
The violence occurred aboard a tanker off the coast of Bethany Beach late Thursday.
Federal officials are trying to piece together just how the incident unfolded, spokesman Nick Ameen said.
The individuals involved are foreign nationals. They were serving on a Hong Kong-based vessel, the Genco Challenger, which was located in international waters in the Atlantic Ocean off the Delaware coast.
The incident is under investigation between Hong Kong and the U.S. State Department. Said Ameen: "But the fact that two men were wounded and one of them died, I certainly hope they can get to the bottom of it. It's tragic."
No names will be made public until next of kin have been notified, the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard first responded to the ship early Friday following a report of a stabbing, Ameen said. Two individuals were airlifted; one was pronounced dead at the hospital and another was transferred to trauma care, he said. Both had been stabbed.
A search for the crew member who reportedly jumped overboard involved Coast Guard boats and helicopters from Cape May, Atlantic City and the Indian River Inlet. The search was suspended early Friday afternoon only to be continued several hours later when the Coast Guard received a call from the ship saying they saw something possibly floating in the water.
A Coast Guard Indian River station crew set out at about 4 p.m. Friday to the area where the ship was located, about 24 miles off of from Bethany Beach,
The crew member's body was located at about 5 p.m. Friday, less than one mile from the vessel. Ameen said he was not aware of stab wounds on the body.
He said he did not know why the body had been found so close to the boat.
"It could have been so many different things that led to him remaining close to the vessel," he said. "He could have been stuck under the boat before resurfacing. I can't possibly speculate."
The Coast Guard is working in conjunction with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the State Department to investigate the incident.