As we previously reported, a United States Marine Corps UH-1Y helicopter had gone missing while conducting missions support of Operation Sahayogi Haat in Nepal–the humanitarian assistance mobilization launched in the wake of a devastating earthquake in late Arpil. The helicopter, with six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers aboard, is assigned to HMLA-469.
At approximately 3:00 p.m. Japanese Standard Time this afternoon, a search team located possible wreckage approximately eight miles north of Charikot, Nepal. Joint Task Force 505 dispatched a team of U.S. Air Force pararescuemen and a combat rescue officer to insert into the crash site and assess the wreckage. At approximately 5:05 p.m, the team confirmed the wreckage was that of the missing helicopter.
“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,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a statement issued today.
“This tragedy is a reminder of the vital but dangerous role that American service members play in delivering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” Secretary Carter went on to say. “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.”
Our thoughts and best wishes are with the members of JTF 505 and their families during this difficult time.