Helicopter crew recovery efforts continue in Nepal

18 May 2015 | Courtesy Story, Joint Task Force 505 III Marine Expeditionary Force

The recovery of a UH-1Y Huey helicopter that went missing May 12 and was later discovered on May 15 has resumed May 16 eight miles north of Charikot, in the Dolakha district of Nepal.

The recovery effort resumed at 6:30 a.m. Nepal Standard Time. Nepalese special forces, U.S. Marines and Air Force pararescuemen were inserted near the wreckage site and worked together to gather information about the helicopter and its crew.

Eight separate sets of remains have been discovered since the recovery effort began. They have yet to be positively identified. Additionally, the cause of the mishap has not been determined.

The aircraft belonged to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, from Camp Pendleton, California and arrived in Nepal directly from Exercise Balikatan 2015, which was underway in the Philippines.

*Humanitarian Assistance Mission*

JTF 505 arrived in Nepal April 29 to conduct humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations following the April 25 magnitude-7.8 earthquake. The crashed helicopter was supporting casualty evacuations following a second earthquake of magnitude 7.3 that occurred May 12.

The U.S. and Nepalese service members aboard the Huey "were determined to go forward with their duties, eager to contribute to our mission to alleviate suffering and come to the rescue of those in need," U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. John E. Wissler, the Joint Task Force 505 commander, said during a press conference May 15.

"The United States military will remain committed to our mission here in Nepal," Wissler said.

A UH-1Y Huey arrived in Nepal today to replace one of the two remaining Hueys deployed May 16 in support of Operation Sahayogi Haat. A second UH-1Y is expected to arrive in Nepal May 17 to replace the other remaining Huey.

The aircraft are scheduled for routine maintenance and the arrival of the new helicopters ensures uninterrupted support for the humanitarian assistance mission.