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Rescue Team Finds Missing Nepalese Helcopter

A Nepalese army resuce team says its has found the wreckage of a helicopter which was also carrying a Finnish diplomat.

The Nepalese airport official told the Reuters news agency, the team saw the bodies of many helicopter passengers.

Rescue teams stepped up their search on Sunday, but had to call off their efforts for the second time due to poor weather.

Five helicopters as well as ground crews made up of nearly a hundred soldiers and local villagers had been looking for the downed craft in the remote Taplejung district. The rescue effort is hampered by the mountainous terrain, which is largely inaccessible, as well as monsoon rains.

The private helicopter, run by Sri Airlines, was carrying 24 people, including a senior US aid official, a Nepali minister, and a four-person Russian crew.

The helicopter was scheduled to land at the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area but never arrived. Weather conditions were hazardous at the time of the disappearance.

"Five helicopters have already started looking for the missing helicopter," Bimalesh Lal Karna, a search and rescue coordinator, told Reuters on Sunday. "About 90 army and police rescuers as well as villagers are also walking towards the remote area to conduct the ground search."

The WWF environmental group, which arranged the trip, says they are still hoping for the safe return of everyone on board.

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