5 Americans Die In Peru Helicopter Crash: Crew Was On Oil Exploration Operation [VIDEO]
A serious helicopter accident in Peru has claimed the lives of seven victims including five Americans.
According to investigators, the team in the aircraft were conducting an oil exploration operation near Pucallpa, Peru, when the fiery crash occurred Monday afternoon. The team on board represented Petrominerales Ltd, a Canadian-based oil exploration firm. They were dispatched by Columbia Helicopters, a Portland, Oregon-based company.
As of now, the cause of the accident is unknown but the Pucallpa Airport authorities claim that the communication with the pilot was lost just minutes after the helicopter took off. Workers on the Pucallpa control tower later saw smoking from the wreckage in the distance.
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According to Columbia Helicopters president and CEO Michael Fahey in an Oregon interview, "We've notified all the authorities and are cooperating with everyone fully, and we'll do everything we can to learn any causes of the accident.
"It's a very sad day for us. We operate globally, but we're a family and we're very close to our employees. And I personally knew many of the individuals who died as our other employees know many of them. We're grieving for them."
In fact, Columbia Helicopters has sent out its own team of investigators to assist the Peruvian authorities and local police.
The two Peruvians lost in the accident were Igor Castillo and Luis Ramos. The American victims were Dann Immel, Edwin Cordova, Jaime Pickett, Darrel Birkes and Leon Bradford.
According to the local police chief, three bodies were discovered away from the crash site of the helicopter and display no indication of burn injuries, suggesting that the three victims jumped out of the aircraft before it caught on fire.
Be sure to take a look at the footage of the wreckage below:
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