Nepal officials: Wreck of missing US Marine helicopter found

Valley Man Among Missing Marines in Nepal

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- Nepalese rescuers on Friday found three bodies near the wreckage of a U.S. Marine helicopter that disappeared earlier this week while on a relief mission in the earthquake-hit Himalayan nation, and officials said it was unlikely there were any survivors from the crash.

"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 gave no details about the nationalities of the three victims, only saying their remains were charred.

The helicopter was carrying six Marines and two Nepalese army soldiers.

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Nepal officials: Wreck of missing US Marine helicopter found
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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A separate team sent by the U.S. Marines also said they identified the wreckage as the missing helicopter, the UH-1 "Huey."

"The assessment of the site is ongoing and a thorough investigation will be conducted," a statement from the Marine-led joint task force said.

The wreckage was found about 24 kilometers (15 miles) from the town of Charikot, near where the aircraft had gone missing on Tuesday while delivering humanitarian aid to villages hit by two deadly earthquakes, according to the U.S. military joint task force in Okinawa, Japan.

The area is near Gothali village in the district of Dolakha, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Nepal's capital Kathmandu.

The discovery of the wreckage, first spotted by Nepalese ground troops and two army helicopters Friday, followed days of intense search involving U.S. and Nepalese aircraft and even U.S. satellites.

The U.S. relief mission was deployed soon after a magnitude-7.8 quake hit April 25, killing more than 8,200 people. It was followed by another magnitude-7.3 quake on Tuesday that killed 117 people and injured 2,800.

The helicopter had been delivering rice and tarps in Charikot, the area worst hit by Tuesday's quake. It had dropped off supplies in one location and was en route to a second site when contact was lost.

U.S. military officials said earlier this week that an Indian helicopter in the air nearby had heard radio chatter from the Huey aircraft about a possible fuel problem.

A total of 300 U.S. military personnel have been supporting the aid mission in Nepal, which includes three Hueys, four Marine MV-22B Ospreys, two KC-130 Hercules and four Air Force C-17 Globemaster heavy-lift aircraft.

The Huey helicopter that crashed was from Marine Light Attack Helicopter squadron 469 based at Camp Pendleton, California.

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