A Marine helicopter that went missing while conducting an earthquake relief mission in Nepal was found Friday, 8 miles from Charikot, Nepal.
It’s likely that the eight crew members onboard died in the crash, Lt. Gen. John Wissler said during a press conference. Nepalese Defense Secretary Prasad Paudyal told The Wall Street Journal his forces had pulled three bodies from the wreckage.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said the U.S. had not recovered any remains, but had visually identified what “appear” to be two sets of remains.
NPR’s Julie McCarthy filed this report for our Newscast unit:
“Five U.S. personnel at the site of the crash have positively identified the missing U.S. Marine helicopter.
“From above, a fleet of three American aircraft supported the survey on the ground. The ill-fated Huey helicopter was carrying six U.S. Marines and two Nepali servicemen when it disappeared Tuesday delivering humanitarian aid to Nepal’s earthquake victims.
“The crash site is approximately 8 miles north of a staging area the U.S. had used to conduct its relief operations.
“A Nepali team had reported sighting the wreckage of the aircraft earlier today. Indians and Nepalis had assisted with the search that extended over three days. The Joint Task Force overseeing the U.S. military’s disaster relief mission says there will be a thorough investigation.”
Update at 12:08 p.m. ET. No Remains Recovered:
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said the U.S. had not recovered any remains, but had visually identified what “appear” to be two sets of remains. We’ve updated the top of this post to reflect that information.
Update at 9:29 a.m. ET. Likely No Survivors:
There are likely no survivors after a Marine helicopter crashed in Nepal, Lt. Gen. John Wissler said during a press conference.
Wissler said the Marines were suspending the search Friday because of bad weather but that they are committed to recovering any remains and figuring out why the helicopter crashed.
“We are deeply saddened by the discovery of this wreckage,” Wissler said.
He added that the U.S. military also understood that Nepal had just suffered much greater losses. The U.S., Wissler said, would continue to help in the earthquake relief effort.
We’ve updated the top of this post to reflect this news.