Nepalese authorities reported Friday that three bodies have been pulled from the remains of a U.S. Marine helicopter in Nepal after search teams discovered the aircraft that had gone missing Tuesday while delivering earthquake relief supplies.
The chopper, based out of San Diego-area Camp Pendleton, had been carrying six U.S. Marines and two Nepalese soldiers when it lost contact between a relief supply delivery and its next stop.
Searchers had been hopeful that a possible fuel problem had merely caused the chopper to land and left the team out of communication in the mountainous terrain. That was not the case.
A Nepalese search team had identified the wreckage that a team from Joint Task Force 505 of pararescuemen and a combat rescue officer later identified as the missing UH-1Y Huey, according to a Department of Defense statement. “The assessment of the site is ongoing.”
The identities of the three found burnt in the wreckage was not clear as of early Friday. As for the remaining five aboard, U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. John Wissler said, “It is unlikely there are any survivors at this time.” Wissler indicated he could not confirm reports from the Nepalese government whether three bodies had been found.
U.S. military relief efforts will continue to those affected in the devastating aftermath of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25 and 7.3 magnitude aftershock in the early morning hours on Tuesday.
Over 8,000 people have been found dead in the earthquakes, according to the Wall Street Journal. The helicopter was found near Charikot, eight miles north of the last sighting of it. The region had suffered widespread destruction from the earthquakes and resulting landslides.
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