The bodies of eight soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Nepal have been recovered from a mountainside accident site. The US military craft was on an earthquake relief mission when it went missing on Tuesday.
Nepali officials confirmed that the remains of all crew members onboard the helicopter had been retrieved on Saturday.
A spokesman for Nepal's army, Jagadish Pokharel said the bodies would be sent to the country's capital Kathmandu.
The helicopter, carrying six US marines and two Nepali soldiers, was delivering aid to areas affected by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the country on April 25.
It was en route to a second location when it went missing, after making a radio call saying the aircraft had a fuel problem.
US and Nepali aircraft were sent out to search for the Vietnam War-era Huey helicopter.
Thewreckage was discovered on Friday
in rugged terrain around 24 kilometers (15 miles) from the town of Charikot, near where it was thought to have gone missing.
Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, commander of the US Pacific Command unit, said it was a tragic accident.
"Together we mourn as our nation and the Federal Republic of Nepal have lost eight courageous men," he said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families."
The cause of the crash is yet to be determined.
John Wissler, lieutenant general of the US Marines said the accident would not affect current relief operations.
"We will continue to stand by Nepal as long as they need our help," he said.
Following the disaster teams of emergency workers from around the world flocked to Nepal to help the around eight million people affected.
More than 8,000 people have now been confirmed killed in the quake, which was followed by a7.3-magnitude second quake on Tuesday.
The United Nations has renewed pleas for urgent assistance to help people stranded in remote areas, saying only 14 percent of the $423 million (371 million euros) appeal has been met.
an/bw (AP, AFP, Reuters)