The San Diego-based guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd continued its search Sunday for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared with 239 people on board during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing more than a week ago.

USS Kidd and its two MH-60R helicopters joined the search Friday, and crews were set to expand its search area from the northwest entrance of the Strait of Malacca into the Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea today, Navy officials said.

The Arleigh-Burke class warship was covering more than 300 square miles of water space every four hours and was checking for anything that could be evidence associated with aircraft debris, officials said.

“Our helicopters here are an extension of the ship’s capabilities and provide us with the best chance of finding airplane debris,” the ship’s Combat Information Center Officer, Lt. j.g. Eric Bachtel, said. “With extra watch standers in place, we are able to comb through any debris spotted from the ship or the aircraft and if needed retrieve the objects via grappling hook, small boats or with our Search and Rescue swimmers deployed from the ship or helicopters.”

The Kidd was searching 1,500 square miles of ocean each day, and was investigating any debris that could be linked to the Boeing 777’s crash. Navy officials said the about 300 member crew of the USS Kidd remained persistent and hopeful that they will evidence that could shed light on the possible disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

The incident sparked multiple investigations involving several nations, including the United States and China. Conflicting information also contributed to the confusion over the disappearance.

According to news reports, Malaysian authorities said the jumbo jet may have been deliberately diverted and could have flown for about seven hours after losing contact.

Searches had also took place in the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Thailand, east of Malaysia and south of Vietnam.

Another San Diego-based guided-missile destroyer, USS Pinckney, was called off the search and headed to Singapore for scheduled repairs, Navy officials said.

Both destroyers deployed from San Diego on Jan. 7.

 –City News Service

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