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Nepalese prime minister urges calm after major aftershock kills dozens

The Nepalese government has urged calm after an aftershock brought new tragedy to the country and its neighbors. US Navy officials say a rescue and relief helicopter has gone missing, with eight people on board.

The new 7.3-magnitude aftershock caused fresh misery for the residents of Nepal and further afield on Tuesday, with at least 66 people reported killed across three countries.

Authorities in Nepal said on Tuesday that 48 people had died as a result of the aftershock, with some 1,176 injured.

Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala urged citizens "not to panic," during a Kathmandu press conference. "We believe we will slowly be saved from this natural disaster," he said.

"Rescue teams have been deployed. We will use all the resources and equipment available to the government for search and rescue. This is a natural disaster. We have to face this with courage and with patience."

Meanwhile in India, there was a reported death toll of 17. Sixteen of those deaths came in the state of Uttar Pradesh, while there was another one in Bihar. The Indian and the US military flew more than 60 people from affected outlying areas to the capital, Kathmandu.

Chinese media reported that one person had died in Tibet after rocks, unsettled by the quake, fell onto a car.

US chopper missing

US Pacific Command spokesman David Eastburn said US military personnel were responding to the disappearance of a UH-1 Huey helicopter in the earthquake zone.

"The incident occurred near Charikot, Nepal while the aircraft was conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations," Eastburn said.

Charikot was among the villages hardest hit by a 7.3-magnitude quake on Tuesday lunchtime. The aftershock was the worst to follow a 7.8-magnitude quake that hit Nepal last month, which left more than 8,000 dead. Eastburn said the circumstances of the crash were still under investigation. A search was said to be under way.

There were reports of fuel issues before the helicopter went missing over the remote, rugged area, the Pentagon said.

Dozens died in the latest shock, centered midway between Kathmandu and Mount Everest, with more than 1,100 people reported injured.

rc/kms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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