Search Continues for Missing Pendleton-Based Helo

A search continued Thursday for a U.S. Marine helicopter carrying six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers. It disappeared Tuesday while delivering aid in the country's northeast.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said the U.S. aerial search for the helicopter had found "nothing of note."

He said the U.S. has redirected some satellites to assist in the search. Officials in Kathmandu said the search was focused on the Sunkhani area, nearly 50 miles northeast of the capital.

The Marine Times reports that crews flew nine sorties Wednesday over the location where the missing helicopter was last seen before suspending the day’s efforts at sundown.

The UH-1Y Huey was delivering earthquake relief supplies to remote villages near Charikot -- one of the villages hardest hit by Tuesday's magnitude 7.3 earthquake -- when it lost communication at about 9 a.m. PT. No distress call went out.

Officials say a fuel problem may have contributed to the copter's problems. A Pentagon spokesperson told NBC News that military leaders are hopeful the helicopter has landed safely and is out of communication.

A U.S. defense official told NBC News that the Marines have a GPS device, a radio, a satellite phone and an emergency beacon, though the difficult terrain may render their equipment ineffective.

The UH-1Y Huey is part of a Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, which is part of the 3rd Marine Air Wing based at Camp Pendleton. It's not clear where Marines on the helicopter are based because they are currently attached to a different command.

Eric Seaman, a Murrieta Marine, was on the copter, according to KNBC in Los Angeles.

Joint Task Force 505 is aiding search and rescue efforts, resuming operations when light broke Wednesday morning. Nepalese Army soldiers are searching for the missing crew on foot.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us