US Navy sends ship to assist AirAsia flight searching
Updated: 2014-12-30 14:14
A handout picture made available by the US Navy on Dec 30, 2014 shows the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson underway in the Pacific Ocean, August 5. 2009. In a statement issued from Yokosuka, Japan, the US military said that the US Pacific Command had ordered the Sampson to the 'general search area' in response to a request from the government of Indonesia.[Photo/IC]
WASHINGTON - The United States has sent a destroyer to the Java Sea to assist in searching for a missing AirAsia jetliner, US officials said Monday.
The USS Sampson was expected to arrive Tuesday in the search zone for Flight QZ8501, which lost contact on Sunday with 162 people on board.
"The US Navy is working closely with the government of Indonesia to identify additional surface or airborne capabilities that best assist their search efforts," the Navy's 7th Fleet said in a statement.
The State Department earlier said that the help was at the request of the Indonesian government.
"Our embassy in Jakarta is in close contact with Indonesian officials, and today, we received a request for assistance locating the airplane," said Jeffrey Rathke, a State Department spokesman.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said the assistance "could include air, surface and sub-surface detection capabilities."
Indonesia, Malaysia and several other countries are searching for the missing plane, which went missing en route from Surabaya in Indonesia's east Java to Singapore after the pilots requested a change of flight plan in a stormy weather.