Singapore-led multi-agency search and rescue efforts for missing USS John S McCain sailors expand search area

A helicopter from the amphibious assault ship USS America, part of the ongoing search for 10 missing sailors, for whom a search and rescue operation was being carried out north of Pedra Branca in Singapore territorial waters.
A helicopter from the amphibious assault ship USS America, part of the ongoing search for 10 missing sailors, for whom a search and rescue operation was being carried out north of Pedra Branca in Singapore territorial waters.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - The Singapore-led multi-agency search and rescue efforts for the remaining missing sailors of the USS John S McCain incident expanded to a wider area on Wednesday (Aug 23).

The naval vessel had collided with the tanker ALNIC MC, in Singapore waters on Monday (Aug 21).

The search area was expanded to 5,524 sq km, from 2,620 sq km on Tuesday (Aug 22). In the coordinated effort, the US and Singapore are covering the central sector, while Malaysia, Australia and Indonesia are covering the north-west, north-east and southern sectors respectively.

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) patrol vessels RSS Freedom and RSS Fearless have been deployed, together with two Singapore Police Coast Guard (PCG) vessels.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has also deployed a Fokker 50 and C-130 for the expanded search, with a Super Puma on standby.

Australia joined Wednesday's operation with a P3 aircraft. The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA), as the co-ordinating agency, also has a craft present.

Over 300 personnel from Singapore have been deployed for this operation. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has deployed four patrol vessels, three fast craft, a frigate, three Super Pumas, two Chinooks, two C-130s and three Fokker 50, while PCG has deployed four patrol crafts.

The MPA has deployed two craft, three tugboats and a team of divers. It has also been issuing hourly navigational broadcasts to inform passing vessels of the incident, and ask them to look out for anyone in the water.

The US Navy and Marine Corps divers located some remains when they accessed sealed compartments in the damaged parts of the ship during search operations on Tuesday. The diving operations are currently still going on.

 

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