Nepalese rescuers on Friday found three bodies near the wreckage of a U.S. Marine helicopter that disappeared earlier this week while on a relief mission in the earthquake-hit Himalayan nation, and officials said it was unlikely there were any survivors from the crash.
“The wreckage of the helicopter was found in pieces and there are no chances of any survivors,” Nepal’s Defense Secretary Iswori Poudyal said. He gave no details about the nationalities of the three victims, only saying their remains were charred.
The helicopter was carrying six Marines and two Nepalese army soldiers.
“The assessment of the site is ongoing and a thorough investigation will be conducted,” a statement from the Marine-led joint task force said.
The wreckage was found about 15 miles from the town of Charikot, near where the aircraft had gone missing on Tuesday while delivering humanitarian aid to villages hit by two deadly earthquakes, according to the U.S. military joint task force in Okinawa, Japan.
The discovery of the wreckage, first spotted by Nepalese ground troops and two army helicopters Friday, followed days of intense search involving U.S. and Nepalese aircraft and even U.S. satellites.
The U.S. 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 Tuesday’s quake. It had dropped off supplies in one location and was en route to a second site when contact was lost.
Story by the Associated Press