AirAsia flight QZ8501: US warship USS Sampson joins search for missing plane

A man looks at a map showing the search area for the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 outside the crisis centre set up at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya on Dec 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 
A man looks at a map showing the search area for the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 outside the crisis centre set up at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya on Dec 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

The search for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 resumed on Tuesday, with the United States navy joining the multi-nation operation on its third day.

China's Ministry of National Defence has also said that China will dispatch aircraft and ships to participate in search and rescue efforts.

Answering a request for aid from the Indonesian government, the USS Sampson has been authorised to join the search, The Guardian reported.

The US Navy is working with the Indonesian government to identify "additional surface or airborne capabilities that best assist their search efforts", the report said.

The USS Sampson, a guided-missile destroyer based in San Diego, is expected to arrive at the scene by Tuesday.

"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, reported AFP.

The State Department earlier said that Indonesia had officially requested US help and confirmed that no Americans were on board the flight. "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. “We are reviewing that request to find out how best we can meet Indonesia’s request for assistance.” He noted it would take “a little bit of time” to evaluate the request, without detailing what kind of aid the US might provide, AFP added.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said the aid could include “some air, surface and sub-surface detection capabilities”. “We stand ready to assist in any way possible,” he said in a statement quoted by AFP.

The US warship joins the search alongside other seacraft, planes and helicopters from various nations including Singapore. The search is also expected to expand to land areas that include the western part of West Kalimantan province.

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