The Pentagon said a Marine Corps helicopter that had been providing aid to earthquake victims in Nepal and lost contact Tuesday has been located.
The wreckage of the UH-1Y Huey was found in a rugged area at 11,200 feet, about 80 miles east of Kathmandu. It had been carrying six U.S. Marines and two Nepali service members.
“Today our hearts are heavy with grief for the U.S. Marines who perished when their helicopter went down in the mountains of Nepal earlier this week while providing aid to earthquake victims there. We also join our Nepalese partners in mourning the loss of their servicemembers who were onboard the helicopter at the time, and we thank the Nepalese and Indian governments for their continued support in search and recovery operations,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a statement.
“This tragedy is a reminder of the vital but dangerous role that American servicemembers play in delivering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Our mission continues in Nepal, and we remain dedicated to answering the call when disaster strikes, both in the Asia-Pacific and around the world.”
Col. Steve Warren, director of the Defense Press Office, told reporters today that the humanitarian mission in Nepal won’t be affected. Crews tried to reach the helicopter wreckage but were recalled “because of some extreme weather conditions that kicked up.”
Warren said crews “visually identified two sets of remains” but did not recover any bodies before they had to quit for the day.
“There were some initial reports about radio chatter and fuel and these things. They’ve since not been confirmed,” he said of the reason for the crash. “…Based on the conditions of the crash, the location of the crash site, it is likely that they’ve all perished.”
President Obama mentioned the Marines at the beginning of his National Peace Officers Memorial Service address today.
“They went to that remote land to help people who suffered devastating losses in a terrible earthquake. They represent a truth that guides our work around the world — when our friends are in need, America helps,” Obama said.
“Sometimes those in uniform get attention only when there’s a battle. But they do so much more than that, looking out for folks who are vulnerable or having a tough time, experienced a disaster. And it can involve great risk, great sacrifice. And we give thanks to all our fellow Americans, military and civilian, who reflect the very best of American leadership around the world. The world is better for them.”