Friday 15 May 2015

The Missing US Marine Corps UH-1Y Helicopter Found

1.       On 12 May 2015, U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y took off from Kathmandu for Charikot on a relief mission at 1330 with 8 military personnel on board of which 6 were U.S. Marines and 2 Nepalese Army personnel.

2.       At 1645, US Liaison Officer contacted the NA Liaison Officer asking him to contact the aircraft through our Air Traffic Control. Our ATC was unable to establish contact. Efforts to track the aircraft were initiated. A US V-22 Osprey along with NA and IAF air assets were launched to track the missing aircraft.

3.       Additionally, 400 plus Nepalese Army ground troops, including specialist Disaster Assessment and Response Teams (DART) and Special Forces Elements were deployed across the most likely areas overnight. The Tamakoshi River was observed by troops all the way South to the Koshi Barrage.

 4.       Since early 13 May, an organized Search and Rescue Operation, involving the Nepalese, Indian and the US Contingents has been ongoing in a highly coordinated and cooperative manner across sectors covering the suspected areas of Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk, Ramechhap and adjoining areas. The Local Police, Armed Police Force and the Civilian Administration have been assisting in the search and collection of information. The Nepalese people have been forthcoming with information and every lead was meticulously followed, as have been indications based on the technological means on board US aircraft.

 5.       The search operations have been launched in a way that it did not interfere with ongoing search, rescue and relief operations.

6.       On 15 May 2015, information by helpful locals led to the discovery of the missing helicopter, which had crashed at an altitude of 11,200 feet on the Northern area of the Kalinchowk Ridge along the Sindhupalchowk, Dolakha border. Currently NA and US Marine Teams have physically identified the helicopter and the Nepalese Army is securing the site. Preliminary investigations followed by detailed investigations will commence as soon as the weather in the area allows. This investigation is at an initial stage and is ongoing.

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