Nepal rescuers find 3 bodies near crashed US chopper

Nepal rescuers find 3 bodies near crashed US chopper

KATHMANDU, Nepal - The Associated Press
Nepal rescuers find 3 bodies near crashed US chopper

A Nepalese army chopper, that spotted the suspected wreckage of a U.S. Marine helicopter, lands at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, May 15, 2015. AP Photo

Nepalese rescuers on May 15 found three bodies near the wreckage of a US Marine helicopter that disappeared earlier this week while on a relief mission in the earthquake-hit Himalayan nation, officials said.

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 US Marines said they were sending their own rescue team to assess the wreckage and determine if it was the missing helicopter, the UH-1 “Huey.”

The suspected wreckage was found about 24 kilometers from the town of Charikot, near where the aircraft had gone missing on May 12 while delivering humanitarian aid to villages hit by two deadly earthquakes, according to the US military joint task force in Okinawa, Japan.

The Nepalese army said the wreckage was located near Gothali village in the district of Dolakha, about 80 kilometers northeast of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu.

The discovery of the wreckage, first spotted by Nepalese ground troops and two army helicopters May 15, followed days of intense search involving U.S. and Nepalese aircraft and even US satellites.

The US relief mission was deployed soon after a magnitude-7.8 quake hit April 25, killing more than 8,200 people. It was followed by another magnitude-7.3 quake on Tuesday that killed 117 people and injured 2,800.

The helicopter had been delivering rice and tarps in Charikot, the area worst hit by  May 12’s quake. It had dropped off supplies in one location and was en route to a second site when contact was lost.

US military officials said earlier this week that an Indian helicopter in the air nearby had heard radio chatter from the Huey aircraft about a possible fuel problem.