A US Marine helicopter involved in disaster relief efforts in Nepal has been declared missing by the Army.Six US Marines and two Nepali soldiers were on board the helicopter as it delivered aid to earthquake victims.
A second earthquake struck on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after an earlier one killed more than 8,000 people.
The US team had been working in the vicinity of Charikot, a village that has been hit hard, a spokesman for the US Pacific Command said.
The helicopter was declared missing that evening, according to Pacific Command spokesman Major Dave Eastburn.
It had been flying from Kathmandu airport as part of the US Operation “Sahayogi Haat”, which means “helping hand” in Nepali.
According to the Pentagon, there was talk of “fuel issues” heard over the radio by a nearby Indian helicopter before the flight went missing in the rugged, mountainous region.
Search operations from the air have been suspended due to darkness, Pentagon spokesman Col Steve Warren told Reuters.
The aircraft had dropped off supplies at one location, and was en route to a second site when contact was lost, according to Col Warren.
Officials are hopeful that the flight had not crashed, since no sign of smoke or fire has yet been discovered.
“Essentially what we have right now is truly a missing helicopter. We simply don’t know its location,” Col Warren said.
Nepali ground forces are continuing their search.