All 14 killed in Peru helicopter crash: official

Officials on Saturday said they found the wreckage of a helicopter that vanished days ago in the Peruvian Andes and the lifeless bodies of the 14 people who were aboard.

"We are en route to the accident site where the helicopter and the bodies are located," prosecutor Cesar Guevara, of the town of Urcos in the southern department of Cusco, told Canal N television by phone.

Guevara said a large team of officials were on the way to pick up the bodies.

On board the Sikorsky S-58 ET which went missing Wednesday were eight South Koreans, a Czech, a Swede, a Dutch citizen and three Peruvians -- two of them crew -- according to helicopter owner HeliCusco.

A special eight-member police mountain patrol team had earlier reached the crash site.

However it could take up to four hours to reach the site, located near Mount Mamarosa, some 4,900 meters (16,000 feet) above sea level, and the team could be retrieving bodies into Sunday, Guevara said.

The chopper vanished in a mountain region on Wednesday, on a flight from Mazuco, in Madre de Dios department, to Cusco.

Rain and snow had been major obstacles to the rescue workers until now.

The helicopter lost contact with its base in Hualla Hualla between the towns of Ocongate and Marcapata, near the snowcapped Apu Colque Cruz peak.

In Seoul, the foreign ministry said the South Koreans were engineers and officials from four South Korean companies on their way back to Cusco after conducting aerial surveillance on a possible site for a hydroelectric project near Puno, in southern Peru.

Two officials from the South Korean embassy in Lima were in Cusco to monitor the search and rescue operations.

Police General Hector Dulanto told AFP that the police mountain climbers found the helicopter crash site at mid-morning. The team took seven hours to reach the site from their base camp, officials said.

Police said that it would be safer to send a team to the crash site by ground than by air due to the bad weather.

Heavy rain and snow have hampered rescue efforts for days.

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