Authorities have found DNA evidence that five more people may have been on board a US military helicopter that crashed during a humanitarian relief mission after the Nepal earthquake.
nvestigators are exploring the possibility that the five new suspected victims of the crash were villagers picked up by the helicopter during its relief mission, a Nepali army spokesman said.
Six US Marines and two Nepali soldiers are known to have died in the crash, the cause of which has yet to be determined.
"While no positive identification has yet been made, there is DNA evidence of five individuals in addition to the six US Marines and two Nepalese soldiers who have already been identified," said Lt. Col. Rob James, a public affairs officer for the US Marines, in a statement to Reuters.
Earlier this week, Nepalese media reported that five people from devastated villages in Dolakha district had gone missing after boarding an unidentified aid helicopter.
A team of US and Nepalese medical and forensic experts are performing DNA tests on the remains to identify all of the victims in tandem with the joint investigation by both militaries into the crash.
The US military did not comment on whether it had any prior indication that there may have been additional passengers on board the aircraft.
"We are all committed to ensuring all remains - whether U.S. or Nepalese - are positively identified," an official said.