US Marine Corps assets – including the Bell Helicopter UH-1Y Huey rotorcraft – are continuing the delivery of aid to victims of the earthquakes in Nepal, as the search continues for a Huey that went missingfollowing a second earthquake on 12 May.
The USMC helicopter disappeared with six marines and two Nepalese service members during an evacuation and aid delivery mission near Charikot, Nepal, and US, Indian and Nepalese aircraft have all been deployed on missions in search of the aircraft.
“Joint Task Force 505 continues efforts in support of the ongoing search and rescue mission for a missing UH-1Y Huey helicopter, as well as humanitarian aid and disaster relief for the country of Nepal,” the USMC says in a 14 May statement.
It adds that two Hueys, two USMC Bell-Boeing MV-22 Ospreys, one Indian Mil Mi-17 and three Nepalese helicopters have searched for the missing rotorcraft, efforts that have been augmented on the ground by a Nepalese special forces platoon and a battalion-sized ground element.
Unmanned air vehicles are also being utilised in the search. Three Aeryon Labs Sky Ranger UAVs are deployed to the area with operators GlobalMedic and Monadrone to provide aerial surveillance of disaster-struck areas in Nepal, and they are believed to be aiding in the search for the missing Huey.
As of the morning of 14 May, Hueys and Ospreys had delivered 174,706lb of emergency relief supplies since the mission – codenamed Operation Sahayogi Haat – began.
Relief supplies have included plastic sheeting, shelter kits, blankets, water, medical supplies, and emergency and supplemental food. In addition to delivering aid, 459 personnel and 52 casualty evacuations have been transported via aircraft, the USMC notes.
Joint Task Force 505 will now replace the two Hueys operating in Nepal to allow for routine maintenance, the USMC says. One UH-1Y assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 469 is scheduled to arrive in Nepal on 15 May, while one UH-1Y Huey assigned to HMLA-269 will arrive on 16 May.
Both aircraft will be transported on board US Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transports assigned to the 535th Airlift Squadron from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.