5 Americans Die in Peru Helicopter Crash; 3 Jumped Prior to Impact
Five Americans have died in Peru after a U.S. cargo helicopter crashed. In total seven people were killed, with the majority Americans, as the helicopter went down in the jungle areas of the country.
The helicopter crashed shortly after taking off from Pucallpa, according to Fox News. The helicopter was on the way to a drilling location in northern Peru, according to reports.
Air traffic controllers reported seeing a huge plume of smoke coming up from where the helicopter had traveled to just shortly after take off. Eye witnesses have added seeing the helicopter losing control prior to crashing into the jungle.
Emergency services and rescue workers rushed to the scene but all seven people were killed. Police Commander Miguel Cardosa has said that some of the bodies recovered were found still within the helicopter wreckage, where as others were found in the vicinity nearby. Officials believe three of the people on board may have attempted to jump from the helicopter as it was going down in an attempt to survive, however, all three also died from the fall.
The five Americans were identified as Dann Immel, Edwin Cordova, Jaime Pickett, Darrel Birkes and Leon Bradford. Two Peruvians also died in the crash and those victims were identified as Igor Castillo and Luis Ramos.
Local media reported that the helicopter had been overloaded at the time, however, the company in charge of the helicopter has said that those suggestions were false.
Columbia Helicopters Michael Fahey has said, "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," according to CNN.
An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the crash.