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USS Fort Worth joins destroyer Sampson in AirAsia search and recovery

The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth is moored at Apra Harbor on U.S. Naval Base Guam on Dec. 11, 2014. Fort Worth is conducting its maiden 16-month rotational deployment in support of the Indo-Asia-Pacific rebalance.

JOANNA DELFIN/U.S. NAVY

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 3, 2015

A second U.S. Navy ship deployed to assist in the search efforts for AirAsia Flight 8501 has arrived in the search zone and begun recovery efforts, according to 7th Fleet.

The USS Fort Worth, a littoral combat ship based in San Diego, arrived in the area Saturday, the fleet said in a news release. It joins the Navy destroyer USS Sampson, also based in San Diego, which arrived Monday. The Sampson has recovered the bodies of 12 who were aboard the passenger jet that went down Dec. 28, the news release said.

The Fort Worth departed for Asia in November as part of a 16-month rotational deployment. It has a crew of 24, with a 24-person aviation squadron, and is the first LCS to deploy with both an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter and an MQ-8B Fire Scout drone helicopter.

"We offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of those affected by this terrible tragedy," said Fort Worth Cmdr. Ken Bridgewater in the news release.

AirAsia Flight 8501, an Airbus A320, went down between Surabaya, Indonesia, and Singapore carrying 162 passengers and crew. The cause of the crash is still unclear. Bad weather has hindered recovery efforts, but two large objects found Saturday on the floor of the Java Sea are thought to be parts of the AirAsia jet, The Associated Press reported. No Americans were aboard, according to the State Department.

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