The U.S. Navy has been working overtime around the globe this last month with its huge response to the missing Malaysian airliner and today it's powering resources towards the sinking Korean passenger ship Sewol.
News reports indicate the vessel is an automobile and passenger carrying ferry with some 450 people onboard at the time of the mishap. It is still unclear if the ship hit something outside of the main shipping channel or if it experienced a catastrophic mechanical failure.
Passenger accounts indicate there was a huge sound, lurching motion, and then immediate chaos as the ship started listing to one side.
Several passengers have been rescued; many of whom are reported to be high school students. CNN reports some 300 passengers are still unaccounted for.
Bonhomme Richard has established communications with the Republic of Korea on-scene commander and is standing by to assist as required. The ship was on a routine patrol in waters west of the Korean peninsula at the time of the incident.
Navy Capt. Heidi Agle, commodore of the U.S. Amphibious Squadron 11 said the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) immediately diverted when notified of the incident.
U.S.S Bonhomme Richard is deployed to Sasebo, Japan, as part of the U.S. 7th Fleet, carrying a Marine Expeditionary Unit. The vessel is equipped for both humanitarian missions and combat operations.
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