Nepal Search Resumes for Missing Marine Helicopter With 8 Aboard

Six Marines and two Nepalese aboard missing helicopter.

An aerial search of the helicopter's last reported position was called off because of darkness.

At first light today, two Marine UH-1Y's took off from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu to resume the aerial search. Aboard each of the helicopters are several Marines, a Nepalese service member and two Air Force pararescuemen. One of the helicopters was fitted with a hoist to reach locations where the terrain might not allow the helicopter to land.

Hours later, two Marine MV-22B tilt rotor Ospreys also began participating in the aerial search after the pair of helicopters completed their search to refuel. The two helicopters and Opsreys will continue to trade off to enable continuous search operations throughout the day, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command says.

"We remain optimistic in our efforts," said Maj. David Eastburn.

Since search operations began, the aircraft have flown about 21 flight hours in nine attempts.

A battalion-sized Nepalese ground force was also moved into the helicopter’s last reported area to assist with the search.

There are 300 U.S. military personnel in Nepal assisting in earthquake relief. The missing helicopter was part of the of fleet of three UH-1Y helicopters and four MV-22 Ospreys that have been delivering relief supplies from the airport in Kathmandu to remote areas of Nepal affected by the deadly earthquake that killed 8,000.