MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter

The US Navy’s Freedom-class littoral combat ship (LCS) USS Fort Worth has joined USS Sampson on a mission to support the search efforts for the wreckage of AirAsia flight QZ8501.

The plane vanished when it was en route from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore on 28 December 2014.

So far, 37 dead bodies have been recovered but the remains of most victims are thought to be in the plane.

USS Fort Worth Crew 104 commanding officer commander Kendall Bridgewater said: "We offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of those affected by this terrible tragedy.

"Having just left Jakarta, Indonesia last week, the USS Fort Worth will assist the Indonesian Government in any way possible."

"USS Fort Worth is equipped with a MH-60R helicopter and two 11m rigid-hull inflatable boats."

Both vessels are set to remain on station throughout the Indonesian-led multinational search effort. USS Sampson has been on mission since 29 December, with its crew supporting the recovery of several bodies.

USS Fort Worth is equipped with a MH-60R helicopter and two 11m rigid-hull inflatable boats.

In addition to the US and Indonesian navies, the search effort is being supported by a multinational task force of ships and aircraft, which have been searching the northern Java Sea and coastline of southern Borneo since the crash.

Search teams have reportedly found four large parts from the plane, although they are yet to confirm a fifth object found on the seabed. The search for flight data recorders is also ongoing.

Image: An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter landing on the flight deck of USS Fort Worth. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy, photo by mass communication specialist 2nd class Antonio P. Turretto Ramos.