Smoke Spotted in Hunt for AirAsia Plane
US Navy assigns USS Sampson to join the search
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2014 6:00 PM CST
Updated Dec 29, 2014 7:00 PM CST
An Indonesian marine policeman helps prepare a search operation for the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 at Pangkalpinang port on Sumatra Island, Dec. 29, 2014, in Indonesia.   (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
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(Newser) – Indonesia has sent out two Cessna jets to investigate reports of smoke coming from an island near where AirAsia Flight 8501 may have crashed, CBS News reports. The smoke was spotted at Belitung Island, notes TVNZ, one of two islands bordering a shipping channel where the flight vanished over shallow waters yesterday. Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that the US Navy has authorized the USS Sampson to join the search; CNN notes that the hunt already includes over 1,100 search-and-rescue personnel from Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore. Believing that the flight and its 162 people may be "at the bottom of the sea," Indonesia has asked the US, France, and the UK for assistance with sonar devices that can scan underwater.