Malaysia expands search area on third day for missing crew of USS John S. McCain

Royal Malaysian Navy personnel carry a body onto a U.S. Navy helicopter from USS America during a search and rescue operation for survivors of the USS John S. McCain ship collision in Malaysian waters on Aug 23, 2017.
Royal Malaysian Navy personnel carry a body onto a U.S. Navy helicopter from USS America during a search and rescue operation for survivors of the USS John S. McCain ship collision in Malaysian waters on Aug 23, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

As Malaysia enters the third day of search for the missing crew of USS John S. McCain on Wednesday (Aug 23), local authorities expanded the search-and-rescue area to four times the initial search area on water.

The current search area is now at 400 nautical square miles on water and 550 nautical square miles on air, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said in a statement.

Australia also received permission from Malaysia to fly its P3-C Orion aircraft over the search area to look for victims still missing in Malaysian waters. Meanwhile, Malaysia has deployed more assets to find missing sailors after the missile-guided destroyer collided with an oil tanker early Monday (Aug 21) morning.

On Tuesday (Aug 22), the Malaysian crew from naval ship KD Handalan found a body which was handed over to the US on Wednesday. The New Straits Times reported that the body was identified and brought to Singapore.

The collision has caused damage to the ship, which is now moored in Singapore. It is the fourth major US Navy warship accident this year in the region, with the 7th fleet commander relieved of his duties after the most recent accident that occurred off the coast of Johor.