Rumors are beginning to circulate that the military helicopter that went missing during an aid mission to Nepal has been spotted. According to Marine Corps Times, it will take some time to pinpoint its location, but it is somewhere in the Tamakoshi region north of the capital of Kathmandu.
There’s also a report from Fox news that a mother of one of the missing Marines received a text from her son stating, ” ‘I’m okay. I’m on the SAR bird,’ which is the search and recovery helicopter. So I just hope that they are all okay and that’s all I know,” she said.”
Yet, no other sources including the DoD are confirming that the Marines have been rescued or even spotted.
The Huey helicopter was reportedly carrying six U.S. Marines and two soldiers from Nepal when it vanished Tuesday. Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, stated said the utility helicopter from Marine Light Attack Helicopter squadron 469 based at Camp Pendleton, California, was last spotted after another near helicopter, “picked up some [radio] chatter about a fuel problem.”
“Right now we are hopeful that there was no crash. There has been no [emergency] beacon, no other signs — no flames, no smoke, no hole in the ground — to indicate that there was a crash,” Warren said.
“That said of course it’s very rugged and difficult terrain,” he added.
Despite the optimism from both countries, the U.S. military denies reports that the aircraft had been spotted.
“Anything that you’re reading about anything saying it was spotted is erroneous,” Army Maj. David Eastburn, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, told Stars and Stripes. “It’s complete speculation.”
According to Eastburn, he has spoken to task force headquarters in Nepal and there has been no word on the location of the missing aircraft.
“They’re running lots and lots of flight hours searching right now, but they don’t have anything, nothing substantial to report.”
Maj. Rajan Dahal of Nepal stated there have been many reports of the helicopter, but their choppers have not spotted it as of yet. He also added there are 400 Nepalese soldiers searching the area for the aircraft.
The Marine Huey disappeared near Charikot as it was delivering aid and evacuating casualties to Kathmandu.