13 Mar From the Sand to the Sky, Support Pours in for Flight MH370
On Mar. 9 at India’s Puri beach, sand sculptor Sudarsan Pattnaik crafted a message of prayer for the flight, which went missing early Saturday somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam. The plane was headed toward Beijing carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew.
In Kuala Lumpur a steady stream of visitors – religious, secular and political – have come to offer support to passengers’ families. On Saturday monks and nuns held a prayer session for those on board the missing jet, a 12-year-old Boeing 777. In the social media sphere, #PrayForMH370 has been trending on Twitter.
Malaysia Airlines posted a statement on its website Monday morning saying it was focused on caring for the families of those on board the plane.
“This means providing them with timely information, travel facilities, accommodation, meals, medical and emotional support,” it said. “Initial financial assistance has been given out to all families over and above their basic needs.”
An outpouring of regional support has also been unleashed from Vietnam, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Australia, all of which are offering search and rescue capabilities. The U.S. has sent in a team from the National Transportation Safety Board to help with an ongoing investigation into the plane’s disappearance.
Here’s a run-down of some of that aid:
China’s navy is offering two warships, three coast guard boats and other civilian vessels to help with search and rescue efforts. Vietnam currently has its four aircraft and seven vessels scanning an area about 50 miles south-southwest of Tho Chu island.
Singapore’s ministry of defense says it has deployed three C-130 aircraft from its air force, a naval helicopter and is offering submarine support and a rescue vessel with onboard divers. The Australian Defense Force said in a statement that it has sent two RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft to Malaysia. The first aircraft departed Sunday night and another one was scheduled to leave Darwin for Malaysia Monday morning.
The USS Pinckney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, was dispatched from San Diego to join the search and rescue effort.
Indonesia deployed five ships on Sunday to search for possible signs of the plane across the Malacca Strait, said Gen. Moeldoko, the chief of the Indonesian military. Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been tweeting about the aid coming in from neighbors like Thailand.