Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: US ship, recon plane to aid plane search

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Pentagon on Saturday dispatched a naval destroyer and a surveillance plane to aid in the search for a Malaysia Airlines jet that has disappeared in waters off Vietnam.

US military officials said in a statement that the destroyer, the USS Pinckney, is currently en route to the southern coast of Vietnam to help search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The vessel carries two helicopters which can be equipped for search and rescue, the Pentagon said.

The Pinckney already was conducting training and maritime security operations in international waters of the South China Sea, the Pentagon said.

It said the vessel could arrive in the area near where the missing aircraft is thought to have gone down within about 24 hours.

The US military statement said a P-3C Orion reconnaissance plane also will depart shortly from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan aiding the effort with additional long-range search, radar and communications capabilities.

The Malaysia Airlines plane had 227 passengers and 12 crew, according to the airline.

It disappeared from radar screens somewhere between Malaysia's east coast and southern Vietnam, triggering the international search effort.

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