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Carter: DoD ‘Heavy With Grief’ After Helo Crash in Nepal

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WASHINGTON, May 15, 2015 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter today expressed his anguish after the U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Huey helicopter reported missing in Nepal May 12 was found to have crashed in the mountains.

Joint Task Force 505 personnel today identified the wreckage of the missing helicopter.

“Today our hearts are heavy with grief for the U.S. Marines who perished when their helicopter went down in the mountains of Nepal earlier this week while providing aid to earthquake victims there,” the defense secretary said in a statement issued today.

Thankful for Support

“We also join our Nepalese partners in mourning the loss of their service members who were onboard the helicopter at the time, and we thank the Nepalese and Indian governments for their continued support in search and recovery operations,” he said.

The helicopter, with six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers aboard, was delivering humanitarian assistance to victims of Nepal’s April 25 magnitude-7.8 earthquake when it went missing.

“This tragedy is a reminder of the vital but dangerous role that American service members play in delivering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” the defense secretary said. “Our mission continues in Nepal, and we remain dedicated to answering the call when disaster strikes, both in the Asia-Pacific and around the world.”

Carter added, “As we approach Armed Forces Day -- when America recognizes the immense contributions made by our soldiers, sailors, airmen, coast guardsmen, and Marines -- the men and women of the Department of Defense stand strong alongside the families of these fallen patriots. They and their loved ones are in our thoughts and prayers.”