Update: The wreckage of the helicopter has been found and the names of the victims were released.
A U.S. marine helicopter with six marines and a Nepali soldier on board was declared missing by the army on Tuesday.
The UH-1Y Venom helicopter was involved in relief work in the remote mountainous region of Nepal. It delivered relief materials to the victims of last month’s earthquake. A second earthquake struck Nepal two weeks after the previous one that killed more than 8,000 people.
Pacific Command spokesman Major Dave Eastburn declared last evening that the helicopter was missing. The U.S. team was working around one of the most affected Charikot village area as confirmed by a spokesman of the U.S. Pacific command.
The helicopter flew from capital Kathmandu as part of U.S. operation “Sahayogi Haat,” translated to “helping hand” from Nepali.
Pentagon revealed that a nearby Indian helicopter heard talks of “fuel issues” from the utility helicopter over the radio before it went missing in the rugged mountains.
Pentagon spokesman Col Steve Warren told Reuters that search operations had to be suspended due to darkness. He also clarified that after dropping relief goods, the copter went missing while heading towards its second destination.
“Essentially what we have right now is truly a missing helicopter. We simply don’t know its location,” said Col Warren. Nepali ground forces, though, are continuing the search.
Officials are hopeful that the flight hasn’t crashed since no signs of smoke or fire have been discovered yet.