US helicopter destroyed, no survivors: Nepal defense ministry

KATHMANDU: A U.S. team has identified the wreckage of an aircraft that crashed in Nepal as that of a missing Marines UH-1Y Huey helicopter, the U.S. military’s Pacific Command said Friday.


The crash wreckage was found around 8 miles (13 km) north of the town of Charikot, Army Major Dave Eastburn, spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, said in a statement.

“The assessment of the site is ongoing and a thorough investigation will be conducted,” he added.

The statement made no mention of the fate of the six Marines and two Nepali soldiers on board the Huey that went missing while on a relief missing in earthquake-struck Nepal on Tuesday.

Nepal says all eight died in the crash.

Three charred bodies were found in the wreckage of the UH-1Y Huey that went missing Tuesday on a mission to deliver aid to earthquake victims, Defense Secretary Ishwori Prasad Paudyal told Reuters.

Six Marines and two Nepali soldiers had been on board.

“The search for others is continuing. As the helicopter has broken into pieces and totally crashed there is no chance of any survivors,” Paudyal said, relaying information from the Nepali army.

Nepal’s Defense Secretary Iswori Poudyal gave no details about the nationalities of the victims. The helicopter was carrying six Marines and two Nepalese army soldiers.

The wreckage was found near Gothali village in the district of Dolakha.

The U.S. Embassy in Nepal had no immediate comment Friday.

The U.S. military said earlier that the UH-1Y Huey was carrying six U.S. Marines and two soldiers from the Nepalese army when it went missing during a relief flight in eastern Nepal.

Relief teams from around the world have been working for weeks to provide water, food, shelter and medical assistance to Nepal after a 7.8-magnitude quake hit on April 25 quake, killing thousands and destroying more than half a million homes.

The missing helicopter was among more than a dozen U.S. military aircraft devoted to aid operations, including two other Huey choppers and four tilt-rotor Ospreys as well as cargo planes.

Before it went missing, there was “some chatter about a fuel problem” on the radio from the helicopter crew, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said Tuesday.

Army helicopters and hundreds of U.S. and Nepalese ground troops had been deployed to scour the mountainous terrain where it disappeared on the same day a second earthquake with magnitude of 7.3 hit Nepal.