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Ship continues search for F-16s

By Senior Airman C. Todd Lopez

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan (Feb. 02, 2001) -- The USS Safeguard, the ship tasked to search for the two downed F-16 aircraft from Misawa, has begun the search.

The Navy search and rescue ship is looking for two Misawa F-16s that went into the Sea of Japan in November of last year.

"The USS Safeguard arrived on station near Oshima Island at around noon on Jan. 24 and began bathymetric runs," said Brig. Gen. David Clary, president of the safety investigation board. "These runs were made to confirm bottom depth relative to their charts, and to ensure the actual survey runs could be conducted without damaging the equipment."

If the aircraft are found, Clary is expected to make a decision on whether any salvage attempt will be made. Prior to making his decision, he will first be briefed on what has been found the expected difficulty of any recovery attempt, and what resources would be required to make the attempt. If a decision is made to attempt salvage operations, the earliest those operations could take place would be mid-to-late February.