INDONESIA ACCEPTS S'PORE NAVAL HELP AFTER 17 HRS DELAY

Singapore has offered military planes and vessels to assist in the search-and-locate operation for the missing Singapore-bound AirAsia flight.

One C-130 plane from the Republic of Singapore Air Force was deployed yesterday afternoon after the Indonesian authorities accepted Singapore’s offer of assistance. It took off at around 5pm and arrived in the search area at around 6.30pm. It searched for two hours before the Indonesian authorities suspended operations for the day and departed the search area. Two C-130 planes will continue the operation today.

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In a Facebook update yesterday night, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said he had spoken to his Indonesian counterpart Ryamizard Ryacudu and offered another four Republic of Singapore Navy vessels to assist in the mission: A frigate, a Landing Ship Tank, a corvette and the MV Swift Rescue. “These vessels are already on standby,” he wrote.

Finally at 12:59 am Monday night, Defence Minister Ng provided an update saying that the Indonesians have accepted Singapore's offer for help. He said: "The Indonesians have accepted our offer of assistance. RSS Valour and RSS Supreme have just set sail from our naval bases. Will take a day to reach the search and locate area."

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore will be sending an officer to Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency in Jakarta to assist in the coordination with the Indonesian authorities on the search operations.

The Ministry of Transport’s Air Accident Investigation Bureau has also offered the Indonesian authorities two teams of specialists and two sets of underwater locator beacon detectors to assist with the search.

In a statement, the Singapore Armed Forces said it was ready to commit more assets if required.

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