Wreckage believed to be from a U.S. Marine helicopter missing in Nepal since Tuesday has been found, U.S. military officials said early Friday.
Air Force para-rescue specialists are at the site outside Katmandu to verify that the wreckage is from is the missing UH-1Y Huey from Camp Pendleton, officials said.
No survivors were found, and Nepalese rescuers found three bodies near the wreckage, officials in Nepal said. The Huey, with six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers aboard, was on a disaster relief mission taking supplies to villagers stranded by powerful earthquakes that struck the region.
The search for the helicopter involved U.S., Indian and Nepalese aircraft. Napalese ground troops, a special-forces platoon and a battalion-sized unit, also assisted, officials said.
The missing aircraft is from Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469 at Camp Pendleton. The squadron was in the Philippines on a training mission when it was directed to Nepal for the relief effort.
Two other Hueys from the same squadron have been part of the search but are being replaced for routine maintenance, officials said. To replace them, a Huey from Squadron 469 is set to arrive in Nepal on Friday. Another Huey from Squadron 269, based at Marine Air Station New River in Jacksonville, N.C., is set to arrive on Saturday.
Marine Huey and Osprey aircraft have delivered 174,706 pounds of relief supplies in Nepal, including blankets, food, water, medical materials and shelter kits, officials said.
The U.S. relief mission was deployed soon after a magnitude 7.8 quake hit April 25, killing more than 8,200 people. It was followed by magnitude 7.3 quake on Tuesday that killed at least 117 people and injured 2,800.
The second quake was centered between Katmandu and Mt. Everest, and hit hardest in deeply rural parts of the Himalayan foothills, hammering many villages reached only by hiking trails and causing road-blocking landslides.