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June 18, 2017 09:18 PM

South Dakota Family's Relief After USS Fitzgerald Collision

Alexandria, SD

In the Wake of this national tragedy one South Dakota family is relieved that their daughter is safe after being on the USS Fitzgerald. 

Meg Nelson has been serving on the USS Fitzgerald for the last 6 months.

This weekend her father, South Dakota State Sen. Stace Nelson said he first heard about the collision with the cargo ship on Twitter. Then he said he spent hours trying to get ahold of his daughter.

"There were some horrifying hours waiting to get some confirmation from Meg to know she was safe," Nelson said.

Eventually Nelson did get a hold of his daughter and learned that she was on shore that night.

"Just a couple hours before the collisions Commander Benson sent her ashore, she had been on loan to the Fitzgerald from the USS Blue Ridge, and the captain joked about keeping her on board the ship and thanked her personally for her work," Nelson said.

Even after colliding with a ship nearly three times its size the crew was able to keep the ship a float.

"I have massive pride that they were able to save their ship and in doing that saved the lives of their fellow crewmen," Nelson said.

Still Nelson says it's hard to explain the relief mixed with feelings of guilt, knowing other families got a different phone call this father's day weekend.

"It does cause a little bit of guilty relief you feel guilty that others are dealing with the anguish of the loss of their son or daughter," Nelson said.

A feeling of survivors guilt he shares with his daughter.

"She was safe and some of the people she loved and cared for deeply are now gone to meet their maker," Nelson said
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