All assumed dead in helicopter crash
The wreck of a helicopter carrying 14 people, including eight Koreans that went missing in Peru last Wednesday, was found, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade yesterday, and everyone aboard was assumed dead.
The Peruvian government’s aerial search and rescue team, commissioned jointly by the police and the military, located the helicopter high on a snow-capped mountain around four kilometers (2.5 miles) away from the village of Coline in the southeastern province of Puno on Saturday, the ministry said, based on what Peruvian Interior Minister Wilber Calle told the Korean Embassy in Lima.
The helicopter appeared to have smashed into a cliff and broken in two pieces, the ministry said.
The mountain, Mama Rosa, is part of the Andes, one of the world’s most rugged mountain ranges. The helicopter was found at 4,950 meters (16,240 feet) above sea level, the ministry said.
Judging from the wreckage, there appeared to be no survivors, the ministry said. The Associated Press quoted a Peruvian police commander as saying that the entire helicopter was burned and those inside appeared to have all died in the initial impact.
The search and rescue helicopter couldn’t approach the wreck because the sun was going down and the weather worsening. It was set to resume the operation on Sunday local time, the ministry said. The cause of the crash has yet to be determined, the ministry said.
A Peruvian ground search team, involving dozens of police officers and civilians, also saw the wreckage on Saturday from about one kilometer away, but because of rough terrestrial conditions and bad weather, the operation was also postponed until Sunday, the ministry said.
The helicopter went missing on Wednesday, and its last radio contact was made one hour after it took off from the town of Masuko in Puno. The group was returning to the northwestern town of Cusco in the same province after visiting a potential hydropower plant site near Masuko. The eight Koreans on board were employees of four major Korean firms.
By Moon Gwang-lip [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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