USS Sampson (DDG 102) is supporting the ongoing Indonesian-led search and recovery operations for the downed AirAsia flight QZ8501 and assisted in locating the crash debris field on December 29th.
At the request of the Indonesian government, Sampson arrived on station in the Java Sea in the early afternoon on Dec. 30 and began assisting in the search. The ship’s MH-60R search and rescue helicopters were launched to assist in the search efforts and the crews, working with multiple Indonesian assets, discovered debris late on the 30th.
The ship and her helicopters are still on station and continuing to search in close coordination with Indonesian authorities.
“Sampson will remain on station as long as the Indonesian government feels they are providing useful assistance,” said Capt. Christopher Budde, operations director for U.S. 7th Fleet.
Additionally, USS Fort Worth, the littoral combat ship deployed to 7th Fleet, is in port Singapore and is prepared to aid in search efforts if assistance is requested. U.S. 7th Fleet and U.S. Pacific Fleet continue to evaluate ships, aircraft and support units in the area that may be helpful in the search efforts and are taking steps to ensure these assets are ready if the Indonesian government requests them.
“The Indonesian government and Indonesian Rescue Coordination Center have done an outstanding job in very quickly organizing this multi-national search effort,” said Budde. “We are preparing additional equipment and assets in case the Indonesian government requests them, but they are doing a tremendous job and additional U.S. Navy assistance may be more than they require.”
Authorities in the region continue to lead the search and recovery effort. The U.S. Navy is working closely with the government of Indonesia to identify additional surface or airborne capabilities to best assist.
USS Sampson is homeported in San Diego and is in the midst of an independent deployment to the Western Pacific.