The US Navy said on Oct. 3 that it is placing severe restrictions on the NATO Sea Sparrow missile system while investigators search for the cause of a firing accident that killed five Turkish sailors aboard a destroyer.

"This action will include removal from the system of certain components needed for missile firing. Operational commanders may elect to keep systems operational on selected units if it is deemed necessary for adequate self defense of the ship," a Navy statement said.

In 17 years, the Sea Sparrow has not had any similar incidents to the one Oct. 1 in which two missiles were launched accidentally from the USS Saratoga off Turkey's western coast. A Turkish commanding officer and four crew were killed.

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