US Marine helicopter missing in Nepal earthquake aid mission

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Nepal Rocked By 2nd Earthquake in a Month


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A U.S. military helicopter carrying six Marines and two Nepalese Army soldiers went missing during a mission in Nepal delivering aid to earthquake victims, U.S. defense officials said Tuesday, but so far there have been no indications that the aircraft crashed.

U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren said an Indian helicopter in the air nearby at the time heard radio chatter from the Marine aircraft about a possible fuel problem. He said the Huey, carrying tarps and rice, had dropped off supplies in one location and was en route to a second site when contact was lost. He said officials are hopeful that the aircraft is simply missing because there has been no smoke or other signs of a crash.

Navy Capt. Chris Sims says the Huey was conducting disaster relief operations near Charikot, Nepal, on Tuesday, around 9 a.m. EDT.

Warren said a Nepalese air brigade unit had seen the Huey, so Marines in V-22 Osprey aircraft searched near that last known location for about 90 minute but found nothing. Because it's now dark, members of the Nepalese Army are conducting the search on foot. Warren said they are moving toward the second aid location to see if the helicopter landed near there.

Because of the rugged mountainous terrain, the helicopter could have landed in a low area but the Marines may not be able to get a beacon or radio signal out, Warren said. He added that U.S. airborne para-rescue forces have rehearsed rescue missions, and are ready to go if needed.

The aircraft is part of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, and the incident is under investigation.

There are about 300 U.S. troops in Nepal assisting with the rescue mission, using a variety of aircraft including three Hueys, four Ospreys and several cargo planes.

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US Marine helicopter missing in Nepal earthquake aid mission
KATHMANDU, NEPAL - MAY 12: Military hand out water bottles to one of the new IDP camps following a second major earthquake May 12, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. A 7.3 magnitude earthquake has struck in Nepal only two weeks after more than 8,000 people were killed in a devastating earthquake. The latest quake has struck near Mt Everest near the town of Namche Bazar. Tremors have been felt as far away as Bangladesh and Delhi. (Photo by Jonas Gratzer/Getty Images)
KATHMANDU - NEPAL - MAY 12: Police rescue teams in response following a further major earthquake on May 12, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. A 7.3 magnitude earthquake has struck in Nepal only two weeks after more than 8,000 people were killed in a devastating earthquake. The latest quake has struck near Mt Everest near the town of Namche Bazar. Tremors have been felt as far away as Bangladesh and Delhi. (Photo by Jonas Gratzer/Getty Images)
An Indian widow (C) is comforted by relatives and friends after the death of her husband on the outskirts of Patna on May 12, 2015, after a new 7.3 earthquake and several powerful aftershocks hit neighbouring devastated Nepal. A new earthquake and powerful aftershocks killed dozens of people and brought fresh terror to a traumatised Nepal as buildings already damaged in a monster quake last month came tumbling down. Officials in Nepal said at least 36 people were killed while 17 people also died across the border in northern India, most in the state of Bihar. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)
An Indian widow (C) is comforted by relatives and friends after the death of her husband on the outskirts of Patna on May 12, 2015, after a new 7.3 earthquake and several powerful aftershocks hit neighbouring devastated Nepal. A new earthquake and powerful aftershocks killed dozens of people and brought fresh terror to a traumatised Nepal as buildings already damaged in a monster quake last month came tumbling down. Officials in Nepal said at least 36 people were killed while 17 people also died across the border in northern India, most in the state of Bihar. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue team officials search for survivors at a collapsed building in Kathmandu May 12, 2015, after an earthquake struck. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit has devastated Nepal, sending terrified residents running into the streets in the capital Kathmandu, according to witnesses and the US Geological Survey. The quake struck at 12:35pm local time in the Himalayan nation some 83 kilometres (52 miles) east of Kathmandu, more than two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude quake which killed more than 8,000 people. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
US rescue team officials with a sniffer dog search for survivors at a collapsed house in Kathmandu May 12, 2015, after an earthquake struck. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit has devastated Nepal, sending terrified residents running into the streets in the capital Kathmandu, according to witnesses and the US Geological Survey. The quake struck at 12:35pm local time in the Himalayan nation some 83 kilometres (52 miles) east of Kathmandu, more than two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude quake which killed more than 8,000 people. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
KATHMANDU - NEPAL - MAY 12: People bring their injured to a Police Hospital in Kathmandu following a further major earthquake on May 12, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. A 7.3 magnitude earthquake has struck in Nepal only two weeks after more than 8,000 people were killed in a devastating earthquake. The latest quake has struck near Mt Everest near the town of Namche Bazar. Tremors have been felt as far away as Bangladesh and Delhi. (Photo by Jonas Gratzer/Getty Images)
Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik gives the final touches to a sand sculpture representing the latest Nepal earthquake at Puri Sea beach, some 65 kilometers from Bhubaneswar on May 12, 2015. A new 7.4-magnitude earthquake and powerful aftershocks killed dozens of people and brought fresh terror to a traumatised Nepal as buildings already damaged in a monster quake last month came tumbling down. AFP PHOTO/ASIT KUMAR (Photo credit should read ASIT KUMAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese patients are carried out of a hospital building as a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hits the country, in Kathmandu on May 12, 2015. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit devastated Nepal, sending terrified residents running into the streets in the capital Kathmandu, according to witnesses and the US Geological Survey. The quake struck at 12:35pm local time in the Himalayan nation some 83 kilometres (52 miles) east of Kathmandu, more than two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude quake which killed more than 8,000 people. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
An Indian child is held by his father after receiving treatment at Siliguri Hospital in Siliguri on May 12, 2015, after falling during an earthquake. A new earthquake of 7.3-magnitude and several powerful aftershocks hit devastated Nepal on May 12, killing at least four people and sending terrified residents running into the streets of the traumatised capital. The quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, and officials said it caused buildings to collapse in Chinese-controlled Tibet.AFP PHOTO / Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian hospital staff attend to a schoolgirl who fainted as a tremor struck at Siliguri Hospital in Siliguri on May 12, 2015. A new earthquake of 7.3-magnitude and several powerful aftershocks hit devastated Nepal on May 12, killing at least four people and sending terrified residents running into the streets of the traumatised capital. The quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, and officials said it caused buildings to collapse in Chinese-controlled Tibet. AFP PHOTO/Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian college students write examination papers as they sit on an area of open ground at Siliguri College in Siliguri on May 12, 2015, following an earthquake. A new earthquake of 7.3-magnitude and several powerful aftershocks hit devastated Nepal on May 12, killing at least four people and sending terrified residents running into the streets of the traumatised capital. The quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, and officials said it caused buildings to collapse in Chinese-controlled Tibet. AFP PHOTO / Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese people stand in the streets as a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hits the country, in Kathmandu on May 12, 2015. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit devastated Nepal, sending terrified residents running into the streets in the capital Kathmandu, according to witnesses and the US Geological Survey. The quake struck at 12:35pm local time in the Himalayan nation some 83 kilometres (52 miles) east of Kathmandu, more than two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude quake which killed more than 8,000 people. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
An Indian patient is watched over by a relative as she receives treatment at Siliguri Hospital in Siliguri on May 12, 2015, following an earthquake. A new earthquake of 7.3-magnitude and several powerful aftershocks hit devastated Nepal on May 12, killing at least four people and sending terrified residents running into the streets of the traumatised capital. The quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, and officials said it caused buildings to collapse in Chinese-controlled Tibet. AFP PHOTO/Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
People wait outside a building after tremors struck New Delhi on May 12, 2015. A new earthquake of 7.3-magnitude and several powerful aftershocks hit devastated Nepal on May 12, killing at least four people and sending terrified residents running into the streets of the traumatised capital. The quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, and officials said it caused buildings to collapse in Chinese-controlled Tibet. AFP PHOTO /PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese patients lie on stretchers in an open area after being carried out of a hospital building as a 7.3 magnitude earthquake hits the country, in Kathmandu on May 12, 2015. A 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit devastated Nepal, sending terrified residents running into the streets in the capital Kathmandu, according to witnesses and the US Geological Survey. The quake struck at 12:35pm local time in the Himalayan nation some 83 kilometres (52 miles) east of Kathmandu, more than two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude quake which killed more than 8,000 people. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
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