US Sending Ship to Help Search for Missing AirAsia Flight

PHOTO: The guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson transits San Diego Bay on Feb. 24, 2012.Derek Stroop/U.S. Navy
The guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson transits San Diego Bay on Feb. 24, 2012.

The United States will send a naval ship to support the Indonesian search for the missing AirAsia flight, a Department of Defense official said this evening.

The San Diego-based USS Sampson of the 7th Fleet is scheduled to arrive in the "general search area" later today, according to a department news release.

U.S. officials said they were responding to a request for assistance from the government of Indonesia.

PHOTO: Crew of Indonesian Air Force C-130 airplane scan the horizon while searching for the missing AirAsia flight 8501 jetliner over the waters of Karimata Strait in Indonesia, Dec. 29, 2014.Dita Alangkara/AP Photo
Crew of Indonesian Air Force C-130 airplane scan the horizon while searching for the missing AirAsia flight 8501 jetliner over the waters of Karimata Strait in Indonesia, Dec. 29, 2014.

Flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320-200, lost contact with air traffic control in Jakarta, Indonesia, at 6:17 a.m. Sunday local time near Belitung Island, Indonesia, after the flight left Surabaya, Indonesia, Indonesian Air Transport Director Djoko Murjatmodjo said during a news conference.

The plane vanished shortly after the pilots requested a change of flight plan because of weather, officials said.

The flight, which was headed to Singapore, had at least 162 people on board.