San Diego-based destroyer ends search for missing airliner

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego-based guided missile destroyer USS Kidd and two of its MH-60R helicopters have stopped assisting in the international search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the Navy announced Tuesday.

USS KidThe Kidd and its helicopters searched a combined 15,000 square miles of the Andaman Sea since March 10 but found no debris or wreckage from the Boeing 777 that has been missing since March 8, according to U.S. 7th Fleet public affairs.

“The dedication of this crew is amazing,” Kidd’s Executive Officer Commander T.J. Zerr said. “Three hundred-fourteen sailors were out here operating 24 hours a day, standing extra watches and volunteering for extra duties because they knew if it were their loved one missing on MH370, they’d want the best U.S. Navy capabilities involved in the search.”

A total of 239 people boarded the flight in Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing. According to news reports, the missing aircraft may have flown for six and a half hours but its exact route is unclear.

The incident has sparked multiple investigations involving several nations, including the United States and China. Conflicting information has contributed to the confusion over the disappearance, the cause of which remains a mystery.

The decision to withdraw the Kidd from the search comes at a time when efforts are expanding into the southern Indian Ocean.

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

The Navy’s long-range reconnaissance aircraft P-8A Poseidon and P-3C Orion will continue to search for MH370, U.S. officials said.

Both the Kidd and the Pinckney deployed from San Diego on Jan. 7.

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