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Aircraft from NAS Whidbey aid in search for missing airliner

A P-3C Orion patrol aircraft, based at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, joined the search this week for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft.   - Photo provided by Whidbey Island Naval Air Station
A P-3C Orion patrol aircraft, based at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, joined the search this week for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft.
— image credit: Photo provided by Whidbey Island Naval Air Station

A crew from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station is helping in the search for the missing Malaysian airliner as the mystery into its disappearance deepens.

A P-3C Orion patrol craft from Maritime Patrol Squadron 46, based at NAS Whidbey, departed from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, on Sunday to aid in the massive search effort that moved into the Indian Ocean this week.

As a submarine hunter, the P-3 Orion is uniquely equipped to search for an airliner that may have crashed into the ocean. Lockheed Martin describes the Orion as a “peerless airborne hunter” and the “ultimate submarine finder.

“The P-3C brings long-range search, radar and communications capabilities to the efforts,” according to a press release from NAS Whidbey.

The missing flight had 227 passengers from 14 nations, mainly China, and 12 crew members.  According to the Malaysia Airlines website, three Americans, including one infant, were also aboard.

The Boeing 777 airliner went missing March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The disappearance has sparked intense interest around the globe and led to a multinational search effort of unparalleled size.

 

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