Latin America & Caribbean

Peru helicopter crash: 'All 14 found dead'

Scene of the helicopter crash
Image caption Debris and signs of an explosion mark the site of the helicopter crash

Police in Peru say they have found the wreckage of a helicopter missing in the south of the country, and all 14 on board are dead.

The helicopter had left the Amazon region of Madre de Dios on Wednesday bound for Cusco.

The 12 passengers were mostly South Korean but included a Dutchman, a Czech, a Swede and a Peruvian, police said. The two crew were Peruvian.

The wreckage was at 4,900m (16,000ft) near Mount Mamarosa, police said.

Police commander Raul Aybar, who visited the scene, said the helicopter had "crashed and exploded".

"Everyone died in the initial impact because everything is burned and scattered," he told AP news agency.

Peru's police chief, Gen Raul Salazar, said that some parts of the helicopter had been thrown up to 200m by the force of impact.

Officials said bodies were being recovered from the crash site, although rain and snow have hampered the team's efforts.

The South Korean embassy in the Peruvian capital, Lima, said its nationals had been part of a team exploring a potential hydro-electric project near Puno, in southern Peru.

Samsung C&T and the Korea Water Resources Corporation, which employed some of those on board, had sent teams to assist in the search.

The BBC's Mattia Cabitza in Lima says the helicopter went missing in a mountainous area that is regularly covered in clouds.

Thousands of tourists travel to the Cusco region each year to visit Machu Picchu, a 15th Century Incan city on a mountain above the town of Aguas Calientes.