U.S. Navy Lt. Mike Glynn, a naval aviator assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 16, pilots a P-8A Poseidon aircraft over the Indian Ocean on April 15, during a search mission in support of the international effort to locate Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The Navy announced that two P-8 Poseidon aircraft and the USNS Cesar Chavez have ended their search efforts. The unmanned submarine Bluefin-21 is expected to be used in future search missions. (MCC Keith DeVinney / Patrol Squadron 16/C7f)
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Two Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft and the USNS Cesar Chavez have ended their participation in search efforts for missing Malaysian Airlines MH370, a 7th Fleet spokesman said. The unmanned submarine Bluefin-21 is expected to be used in future search missions.
“The decision to detach the P-8s was made in close coordination with the governments of Australia and Malaysia in view of the diminishing possibility debris will be found on the surface of the water,” Cmdr. William Marks said in an email on Tuesday. “Overall Seventh Fleet patrol aircraft support included 45 missions, with 396 hours of flight time covering 513,000 square nautical miles.”
The P-8s and Cesar Chavez will return to other operations within the 7th Fleet area of responsibility this week, Marks said.
Since the passenger jet went missing on March 8, roughly 800 sailors from 7th Fleet have taken part in search efforts, including sailors from the USS Pinckney, USS Kidd, the command and control staff about the USS Blue Ridge and P-3 Orion and P-8 crews, Marks said.
“Support from our allies and partners in the region has been exceptional; at one point 26 countries were working together in close coordination to achieve a common goal,” 7th Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Robert Thomas said in a statement. “To see such significant depth of international cooperation coming together for one mission is unprecedented and highly encouraging for the security and stability of the region.”