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Wreckage of US chopper found in Nepal; toll reaches 117


Kathmandu: Rescuers in quake-hit Nepal today located three charred bodies and the wreckage of a US Marine helicopter that went missing while delivering aid in the devastated Himalayan nation as death toll from the fresh quake reached 117 amid three fresh tremors.

The wreckage of the Marine Corps UH-1Y Huey, that was carrying six Marines and two Nepalese army soldiers when it disappeared on Tuesday when the second powerful temblor struck, was spotted by a Nepalese army helicopter near the village of Ghorthali on the mountainside.

According to Nepal Army, the wreckage of the chopper has been spotted at the altitude of 11,200 feet near Kalinchowk hill in Dolakha district.

Defence Secretary Ishwori Prasad Paudyal confirmed that the US military chopper was found crashed on the hillside but did not give any details about the nationalities of the victims.

Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat tweeted: “Tragic news of crashed chopper at 11200 ft Kalinchok,Dolakha reported by NA.Saddened at the loss brave people at humanitarian work.”

Its disappearance had triggered intense search involving US and Nepalese aircraft and even US satellites besides hundreds of American and Nepalese ground troops.

Three charred bodies were recovered from the wreckage of the helicopter and no survivors were reported, according to ekantipur.com.

The recovered bodies are being ferried to Kathmandu. Local police officials say hundreds of security personnel including US Marines and locals have reached the crash site, the report said.

The crashed helicopter was among over a dozen US military aircraft undertaking aid operations, including two other Huey choppers and four tilt-rotor Ospreys besides cargo planes.

Meanwhile, three tremors today kept people on edge in Nepal, devastated by two powerful earthquakes that struck within weeks.

The death toll from Tuesday’s 7.3-magnitude temblor rose to 117. The powerful quake struck the Himalayan nation just when it had begun to rebuild itself following the devastation from the monster temblor less than three weeks ago.

A 5.5-magnitude tremor struck this morning at 7.27 am with epicentre in Dhading district, 80 km west of Kathmandu, according to the National Seismological Centre.

Earlier, two tremors were felt at 3.38 and 4.07 am measuring 4.1 and 4.3 on the Richter scale, both with Dolakha as epicentre.

More than 215 aftershocks were recorded in different parts of the country after the April 25 earthquake, the country’s worst temblor in over eight decades.

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