U.S. Navy assists in salvage operation for Ethopian plane
NAPLES, Italy — The U.S. Navy has sent the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage to help in the salvage and recovery efforts of a commercial airliner that plunged into the waters off the Lebanese coast early Monday morning.
An Ethiopian Airlines plane carrying 90 people caught fire and crashed into the sea minutes after taking off from Beirut, setting off a frantic search, according to The Associated Press. At least 21 bodies were recovered.
The Ramage, already in the Mediterranean Sea on another mission, began sailing toward Lebanon after Lebanese and NATO maritime officials asked for its help, a U.S. Navy spokeswoman said.
The ship was expected to arrive on the scene Monday afternoon and coordinate with search and rescue/recovery officials, said Cmdr. Monica Rousselow, a spokeswoman with U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa-6th Fleet.
On Monday morning, a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion surveillance plane from Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily, participated in search efforts, but returned to Sigonella that afternoon.
The U.S. Navy also might send divers from the Rota, Spain, detachment of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8, which falls under 6th Fleet’s Combined Task Force 68.