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U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon Searches for Malaysian Airlines MH370

The search area is so far from land, search coordinators have taken the approach of staggering the planes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Four search planes and one transport plane from three countries flew to the site where officials recorded images of possible debris in the search for missing jet Malaysian Airlines MH 370.

    The search area so far from land, search coordinators have taken the approach of staggering the arrival of the planes.

    Among them, planes made by Lockheed Martin which has a large presence here in San Diego and another from the U.S. Navy.

    The Navy's P-8 Poseidon airplane is adapted from a Boeing 737 commercial jet and is designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare as well as reconnaissance.

    Two Australian P-3 Orions and a New Zealand Orion made eight-hour round trips, allowing them only two hours to search before they had to return. They will resume searching on Friday.

    The Orion is made by Lockheed Martin and was once used as a submarine finder but these days is more often used for maritime patrol.

    They were used to help in Hurricane Katrina and the BP Horizon oil rig disaster.

    Their sensors can detect objects at or below the water's surface.

    Australia's Air Force has also sent a C-130 Hercules, a military transport plane built by Lockheed. The purpose of the Hercules is to drop marker buoys in the area.

    John Young, the manager of the Australia Maritime Safety Authority's emergency response division, said visibility was poor, which would hamper efforts.

    AMSA said clouds and rains obscured the view for at least one of its flights Thursday.

    San Diego-based destroyer USS Kidd was helping in the search from its location in the Indian Ocean earlier this week.

    Not only was the crew on round-the-clock coverage but the ship's engineers reportedly rigged additional lighting to aid in the search.

    According to senior watch officer Lt. Cmdr. Melissa J. Szurovy, “Additional lookout watches are being stood by nontraditional watch standers and sailors of their own volition are helping topside in our search for any sign of the aircraft. It is a true testament to the crew’s fortitude to find this airliner."

    Guided missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer was scheduled to depart Naval Base San Diego Thursday on an independent deployment to the Western Pacific Ocean.

    It will take the ship three weeks to get even close to the search area and there are no immediate plans for the crew to help in any kind of recovery effort.