“…there are no chances of any survivors.”
Nepalese rescuers have found the wreckage of the “Huey” military helicopter that went missing earlier this week during an aid mission. Three bodies were found at the crash site.
The helicopter was carrying 2 Nepalese army soldiers and 6 U.S. Marines when it disappeared outside the earthquake-ravaged town of Charikot. Originally, officials were hopeful that the craft had been forced to make an emergency landing in a low-lying area (which would have made the deployment of a rescue beacon or distress signal impossible); however, the discovery of the wreckage and remains has led officials to the conclusion that recovery crews shouldn’t expect to find any survivors of the crash.
The AP reports:
“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 did not give the nationalities of the three victims, only saying their remains were charred.
Lt. Gen. John Wissler, commander of the Marine-led joint task force, told reporters in Kathmandu that his team could not immediately identify the cause of the crash or identify the bodies found.
“It was very severe crash, and based on what we saw in the condition of the aircraft, we believe there were no survivors,” he said.
He said extreme weather and difficult terrain hampered his team’s efforts to work at the crash site.
“Due to the extremely difficult terrain of the site of the mishap, below-freezing temperatures and violent winds and thunderstorms, I made the decision to cease the recovery efforts for this evening,” he said. “We cannot afford to put U.S. or Nepalese service members at any further risk.”
300 U.S. military personnel have been assisting with relief efforts in Nepal following two separate earthquakes that left thousands dead and even more injured and homeless. The quakes’ effects spread throughout Nepal and into Tibet and India. Only a fraction of the total humanitarian aid requested by the United Nations has been committed.
So far, only 14% of the humanitarian aid sought by the United Nations for the relief effort in Nepal has been met, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. That means only $59 million has been committed, of the $423 million requested, since the first quake struck last month.
The international community needs to do more, the OCHA said.
“We are not out of the emergency situation yet,” said Leszek Barczak, public information officer for the OCHA.
“Some 500,000 to 600,000 families have lost their homes in the two earthquakes. Shelter is the minimum for the people to get on with their lives.”
Friday’s appeal came as the death toll from Tuesday’s major earthquake — the second in Nepal in less than three weeks — climbed Friday to 117, according to Nepal’s Home Ministry.
Rescue and relief teams continued to try to reach remote areas near the epicenter of Tuesday’s magnitude-7.3 quake.
Right now, officials are keeping an eye on the risk of more landslides in the already-devastated area.
We’ll keep you updated on the conditions in Nepal as more information becomes available.DONATE
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