Five Americans killed in Peru helicopter crash: prosecutor

A helicopter used by an oil and mining company crashed into a commercial building in a village in northern Peru on Monday, killing at least seven people, including five Americans, an official said.

The accident occurred at 2:57 pm (1957 GMT) in the village of San Juan, in the northern jungle region of Ucayali, and police and specialists investigators were looking ino the cause, local prosecutor Marcos Ochoa told Peru's RPP radio.

"There are seven dead, including five Americans and two Peruvians," Ochoa said after villagers reported seeing the helicopter exploding and splitting in two as it hit the ground.

Ochoa said the BV-234 helicopter from Columbia Helicopters Peru SAC was being used by an oil and mining company working in the area. It had taken off from Pucallpa international airport and was headed for the commercial hub of Tarapoto.

A villager told RPP that the helicopter "crashed and exploded," adding that she saw three bodies on the ground.

Firefighters and police cordoned off the crash site as investigators began their work.

"The sound was terrible, we did not know what to do, the helicopter broke in two and was consumed by fire," another witness, a man, told reporters.

In another major helicopter crash in June, 14 people died in the southeastern Andes mountains of Peru.

On board the flight were eight South Koreans, a Czech, a Swede, a Dutch citizen and three Peruvians, two of them crew members, according to helicopter owner HeliCusco. All were found dead.

The South Koreans were engineers and officials from four South Korean companies on their way back to the city of Cusco after conducting aerial surveillance on a possible site for a hydroelectric project near Puno, in southern Peru, close to the border with Bolivia.

by Kyoko Hasegawa © 2013 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Jan 8, 2013