The U.S. Marine helicopter providing humanitarian aid in Nepal that went missing on Tuesday has been located. As of now, three bodies have been found near the wreckage. The helicopter was carrying six U.S. Marines and two Nepalese military personnel.
Wreckage Found Near Village of Charikot
The wreckage of the Marine helicopter was located approximately 15 miles from Charikot. It is in the Dolakha district near the village of Gothali, close to 50 miles northeast of the capital, Kathmandu. There has been an extensive search for the Marine helicopter since its disappearance on Tuesday. Nepalese ground troops, Nepalese and U.S. aircraft, and U.S. satellites have been involved in locating the UH-1 helicopter, known generally as the “Huey.”
Two army helicopters and Nepalese ground troops located the wreckage of the Marine helicopter in a mountainous area of dense forest. An independent U.S. team of Marines sent to the scene confirmed the wreckage as that of the lost helicopter. Commander of the Joint Task Force 505, Marine Lt. General John Wissler stated that the wreck was found at about 11,000 feet in extremely rugged terrain and heavy forest. The search and recovery efforts had been halted for the night due to extreme cold and dangerous ground, but the efforts resumed as soon as it was light.
Iswori Poudya, Nepal’s defense secretary stated that the Marine helicopter was in pieces, and there is no chance there were any survivors. He gave no details regarding the three bodies that were found other than to state they had been burned.
Area of Charikot Hardest Hit
The Marine helicopter had travelled to Charikot to deliver humanitarian aid of tarps and rice to the village and had taken off to another location when it disappeared. Charikot is in the area of Nepal that has been hardest hit by the two recent earthquakes. The helicopter was delivering aid just after the second earthquake.
The first devastating quake hit the small nation on April 25 and killed over 8,200 people. That quake was followed by multiple aftershocks that continued to keep residents on edge. A second tremendous quake of 7.3 magnitude hit on May 12 and killed an additional 117 people, injuring more than 2,800. Residents have begun to live outdoors despite cold temperatures, for fear of another large earthquake, or more aftershocks.
Nations from all over the world have been sending aid to the nation. The U.S. alone has 300 military carrying out aid with four Marine MV-22B Ospreys, four heavy-lift Air Force C-17 Globemasters, two Hercules KC-130s, and three UH-1Y Huey helicopters.
Authorities state that a thorough investigation will be conducted as to the reason for the Marine helicopter crash. It was reported that an Indian helicopter in the area reported hearing radio chatter about a possible fuel problem with the craft.