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Navy Helps in Search for Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2014 – The U.S. Navy is contributing to the international search effort for a Malaysia Airlines jet that dropped off the radar of Subang, Indonesia, traffic controllers early Saturday morning while over the South China Sea, according to a statement from the U.S. Seventh Fleet public affairs office.

Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200 aircraft, departed Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m. Saturday local time and was scheduled to land at Beijing International Airport at 6:30am Beijing time. The flight has 227 passengers from 14 nations, mainly China, and 12 crewmembers. According to the Malaysia Airlines website, three Americans were also aboard.

Today, the USS Pinckney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer homeported in San Diego, was dispatched to the southern coast of Vietnam to join teams from Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam in search and rescue efforts already underway, according to the Malaysia Airlines website.

Pinckney was conducting training and maritime security operations in international waters of the South China Sea. The ship could be in vicinity of the missing jet within 24 hours and carries two MH-60R helicopters that can be equipped for search and rescue.

The Seventh Fleet PAO says a P-3C Orion aircraft also will depart shortly from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, bringing long-range search, radar and communications capabilities to the efforts.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by this tragic event,” PAO officials said in the statement, which also requested that all questions about the event be directed to the Navy Office of Information, or CHINFO, duty officer.

The Navy also has released file video of USS Pinckney at the websites below.

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter @PellerinAFPS

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageA U.S. Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopter lands aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney during a crew swap before returning to search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight in the Gulf of Thailand, March 9, 2014. The flight, which dropped off the radar of Subang, Indonesia, traffic controllers early Saturday morning while over the South China Sea, had 227 passengers from 14 nations and 12 crew members. The Seahawk is from the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 78. U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Chris D. Boardman  
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