LIMA – Efforts to recover the bodies of the 14 people, the majority of them Korean tourists, killed in a helicopter crash in southern Peru are being complicated by the location of the crash site at an elevation of nearly 5,000 meters (16,393 feet) in the Andes mountains, police said Sunday.
The aircraft, which belonged to the Helicusco company was reported missing last Wednesday.
Police found the helicopter’s wreckage on Saturday on Mama Rosa mountain in the Cuzco region.
Photographs published by the press Sunday show that the helicopter broke into several pieces after hitting the mountain and apparently caught fire.
“(The helicopter) hit the wall of a mountain, that’s where the remains are,” air force Col. Angel Rios told the official Andina news agency.
The rough terrain makes it hard for helicopters to land and drop off recovery teams, Rios said.
The recovery of the bodies will likely be delayed by at least two days because emergency services personnel will have to reach the crash site by land, Rios said.
The aircraft disappeared late Wednesday afternoon while flying from the southeastern jungle region of Madre de Dios to the neighboring region of Cuzco.
The recovery operation was suspended Saturday afternoon because of bad weather in the area, where temperatures drop below zero at this time of year and strong winds blast the mountains.
The helicopter was carrying eight Koreans, a Dutchman, a Swede, a Czech and three Peruvians, including the pilot and co-pilot.