The Bonhomme Richard has MH-60 Seahawk helicopters, the MV-22 Osprey and small boats that could be used to rescue survivors. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Ed)
The amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard is standing by to help find survivors from a South Korean ferry that capsized Wednesday in the Yellow Sea, 7th Fleet said.
“When we were alerted to the accident, we immediately diverted to the scene to render assistance,” Capt. Heidi C. Agle, commodore of Amphibious Squadron 11, said in a news release on Wednesday. “However, the efficiency of the Korean response eclipsed the immediate need for our assets. We are standing by to provide support as requested by the on-scene commander.”
The ship has MH-60 Seahawk helicopters, the MV-22 Osprey and small boats that could be used to rescue survivors, the news release says.
Close to 300 people are still missing from the ferry, which was carrying hundreds of high school students on a field trip when it sank, according to media reports.
The Bonhomme Richard was on a patrol west of the Korean peninsula when the ferry sank, a 7th Fleet spokeswoman told Navy Times. The ship has established contact with the South Korean commander leading search and rescue efforts in case the South Korean navy and coast guard ask for help.
“The ship also dispatched helicopters to the area, but those aircraft have since returned to the ship awaiting further tasking,” Navy Capt. Katy Wright said in an email to Navy Times on Wednesday. “Our thoughts are with the passengers of the Korean ferry that sunk today along with their families.”