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U.S. Continues to Aid Search for Missing Malaysian Airliner

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2014 – The United States continues to assist the Malaysian government in the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared the night of March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
A U.S. Navy SH-60R Seahawk helicopter departs the guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney 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
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The USS Pinckney and USS Kidd - Arleigh Burke-class destroyers - are on station in the Gulf of Thailand conducting search-and-rescue operations, Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters today.

The ships are using a "creeping-line” search method, Warren said. The Pinckney investigated a possible debris field yesterday, he added, but it was not the missing aircraft.

Two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters are flying off the ships to aid the search, using forward-looking infrared pods to search at night. A P-3 Orion from Kadena Air Base, Japan, also is being employed in the search, Warren said. The Orion, operating in the western search area, brings long-range search, radar and communications capabilities to the efforts. It can loiter about nine hours at a time.

In addition, the USNS John Ericsson, a fleet replenishment oiler, is providing logistics support for the U.S. effort.

American ships are working with ships from Malaysia, China and Singapore in the search effort.

Air traffic controllers lost the signal about two hours after the Boeing 777-200 airliner took off with 239 people aboard.

Earlier reports of an oil slick in the Gulf of Thailand proved to not be from the aircraft, Malaysian aviation officials in Kuala Lumpur told reporters today.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneAFPS)

 

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