Peru Finds Helicopter Crash Site in Andes; 14 Presumed Dead

Peruvian police found debris from a helicopter that went missing in the Andes and all 14 on board are presumed dead, according to a South Korean company that employed four of the passengers.

The crash site was located yesterday at 9:30 a.m. local time on Mount Mamarosa, near the Peruvian city of Cuzco, Samsung C&T Corp. (000830) said today in an e-mailed statement. Peruvian police notified the South Korean embassy that all passengers, including one Dutch and three South Korean Samsung C&T employees, are believed to have died, it said.

South Korean diplomats are on their way to the site to confirm the deaths, Foreign Ministry official Hwang In Seong said today in Seoul.

The pilot and a crewmember, both Peruvians, were taking 12 foreigners, including eight Koreans, to survey three proposed sites for a hydropower plant near the Inambari river, Hwang said. The craft went missing on June 6 as it crossed the Andes to return to Cuzco, he said.

The other South Korean passengers included two who work for Korea Engineering Consultants Corp. (023350), two from Seoyeong Engineering Co. and one with Korea Water Resources Corp., Cho Keun Ho, a Samsung C&T spokesman, said on June 8. Three employees from Samsung C&T’s local partner were also aboard, Cho said. There were Austrians on the craft as well, General Hector Dulanto of the Peruvian police told state television channel TV Peru on June 7.

‘Shock and Regret’

Samsung C&T’s Vice Chairman Jung Yeon Joo, who left Seoul today for Peru, expressed “shock and regret for the loss of the company’s employees who were working hard to tap into new markets abroad,” according to the company’s statement. Kim Wan Kyu, vice-president of the state-run Korea Water Resources Corp. led an emergency response team to Peru on June 8, according to a statement posted on Korea Water’s website that day.

The helicopter belonged to Helicopteros del Cusco SA, which flies tourists to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and transports personnel and cargo for the mining and oil and gas industry, according to the company’s website.

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