The wreckage of a US military helicopter lost on an earthquake relief mission in Nepal has been found high on a mountainside, with all eight on board presumed dead, according to US officials.
A US search team identified the wreckage as that of the missing Marines UH-1Y Huey helicopter deployed after the Himalayan state was hit by a massive earthquake last month that killed more than 8,000 people.
Crash debris was found 13 km (8 miles) north of the town of Charikot near dense forest and rugged terrain
"It was a very severe crash. We believe there were no survivors," said John Wissler, lieutenant general of the US Marines.
The Huey went missing while it was distributing aid on Tuesday, the day a strong aftershock hit Nepal and killed more than 100 people.
Six Marines and two Nepali soldiers were on board when it went missing, after the crew was heard over the radio saying the aircraft was experiencing a fuel problem.
The Huey, an iconic helicopter dating back to the Vietnam War era, was completely destroyed, Nepal's top defence ministry official said.
"As the helicopter has broken into pieces and totally crashed there is no chance of any survivors," Nepal's defence secretary Ishwori Prasad Paudyal said earlier today.
Combined death toll in Nepal over 8,000
A first earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April with a magnitude of 7.8 has killed 8,199 people.
The death toll from a 7.3 aftershock on Tuesday has reached 117, with many victims in the Dolakha district where the US chopper was lost on the same day.
The combined toll is approaching the number of just over 8,500 who died in an earthquake in 1934, the worst ever natural disaster to hit the poor Himalayan nation.
About 76,000 more have been hurt while hundreds of thousands of buildings, including ancient temples and monuments, have been damaged or destroyed.
Nearly three weeks after the first quake, aftershocks continue to rattle the country.
Nepal mobilised 600 soldiers to search for the Huey, which had six Marines and two Nepali soldiers on board when it went missing after the crew was heard over the radio saying that the aircraft was experiencing a fuel problem.