Bad weather, rugged terrain caused US chopper crash in Nepal that killed 13: Army

A US Marine Corps helicopter carrying out earthquake relief in Nepal was reported missing on May 12, 2015 with eight personnel on board, officials said.
A US Marine Corps helicopter carrying out earthquake relief in Nepal was reported missing on May 12, 2015 with eight personnel on board, officials said.PHOTO: AFP

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - The crash of a United States military helicopter distributing aid to victims of an earthquake in Nepal in May was caused by bad weather and the rugged terrain of the Himalayan region, Nepal's army said.

The wreckage of the Marines UH-1Y Huey helicopter, which had gone missing on May 12, was found three days later on a steep slope near dense forest high in the mountains.

Six US Marines, two Nepalese soldiers and five civilians were killed in the crash. "Because of the terrain and bad weather the helicopter ... collided with hard rock and crashed about 11,200 feet (3,413m above the sea level in Kalinchok," Nepal's army said in a statement late on Friday, following a joint investigation with the US military into the accident.

The helicopter was part of a huge international relief and rescue operation for the victims of the earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25.

The quake and a second tremor on May 12 killed at least 8,832 people and injured more than 22,000.