5 US citizens are among the 7 victims of a helicopter crash in the Amazonian jungle in Peru, on Monday, January 7.The incident occurred near Pucallpa, where the passengers on the chopper were conducting an oil exploration. The members of the team were employed by Canadian company Petrominerales Ltd.
Dann Immel, Edwin Cordova, Jaime Pickett, Darrel Birkes and Leon Bradford were the US residents having passed away in the accident. The 2 other victims were Peruvians Igor Castillo and Luis Ramos.
Pucallpa Airport authorities report that they lost communication with the pilot right after take-off. It wasn't long until traffic operators noticed smoke coming from the direction of the helicopter.
As emergency operators arrived at the scene, they found that it had caught fire after an abrupt landing. Four of the victims displayed burn marks, while the other three were burn-free.
Police believe that they jumped off the aircraft before it crashed. Their bodies were found further away from the crash site, at a distance from the other victims.
The flying equipment had been supplied by Columbia Helicopters, of Portland, Oregon, I Science Times notes.
"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," company CEO Michael Fahey said in an interview at their headquarters in Oregon.
Investigators from Columbia Helicopters are currently working with local detectives and Peruvian officials to determine the cause of the crash.