Choppers, drone hunt for missing US Huey in Nepal

2015-05-14 11:46

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Charikot - Military helicopters flew over eastern Nepal and a team sent up a drone on Thursday to search for a missing US Marines Huey chopper, as the death toll rose from the Himalayan country's second big earthquake in less than three weeks.

A Reuters correspondent flew with a Nepali military helicopter along the Tamakoshi river that runs by the town of Charikot, in the Dolakha district that was worst hit by Tuesday's 7.3 magnitude quake.

In Koshikhet village, a US civilian team was using a drone to search for the missing Marine Corps UH-1Y, or Huey as the model is better known, which was carrying six Marines and two Nepali soldiers.

"We are using infrared vision to look for hotspots and any signs of life," said drone operator Shepherd Eaton, from GlobalMedic, a US aid agency that specialises in search and rescue.

The search, involving US, Indian and Nepali military choppers and a battalion of 400 Nepali soldiers, has faced criticism for diverting resources away from relief efforts.

So far, no sign has been found of the Huey, which was on an aid mission in Dolakha district near Tibet when it lost contact on Tuesday.

"We are still trying to locate it. There is no evidence to prove that it has crashed," said Marines spokesperson Captain Cassandra Gesecki.

The death toll from Tuesday's tremor reached 91, Nepal's home ministry said on Thursday.

Another 2 428 people were injured in the quake, which struck 17 days after a huge earthquake killed more than 8 000 people and damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings in the impoverished Himalayan nation.

Second quake adds to pain

Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, visiting Dolakha district, said massive landslides made relief work difficult. "Still, we are fighting," he said.

Medecins Sans Frontieres emergency coordinator Dan Sermand said Tuesday's tremors caused serious damage to buildings in remote areas that had already been weakened.

"The first has done quite some damage. The second has finished the job," Sermand said by telephone from Kathmandu.

MSF deployed two helicopters, each with two medical teams, to Dolakha to stabilise and evacuate the injured. Civilian helicopters were not asked to join the search for the missing US chopper.

Home Ministry official Laxmi Prasad Dahal told Reuters on Wednesday he feared the search was diverting resources from relief and rescue operations.

Remote areas

Relief workers and aid were only slowly reaching remote parts of Nepal, where many roads have been made impassable by landslides.

In Mabu village, the Nepali search helicopter stopped to find out if the locals there had any information about the missing helicopter.

"You are the only person we have seen so far," said Bhagawat Gurung, 18, a villager, when asked whether any aid workers had reached them.

Tuesday's earthquake, which was followed by several aftershocks, struck just as Nepalis were coming to terms with the devastation wreaked by last month's 7.8 quake.

Read more on:    us  |  nepal  |  earthquakes  |  nepal earthquake

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.