Bodies of Peru crash victims to be brought home as early as this week
CUSCO, Peru (Yonhap) -- The bodies of eight Koreans killed in a chopper crash in Peru could be flown home as early as this week after all of the victims are identified by their families, officials said Tuesday.
Relatives of the eight Koreans visited a morgue in the southeastern city of Cusco, where they identified five of the bodies by their clothes, passports, personal belongings and dental records, officials from the South Korean Embassy in Lima said.
"Once we complete the identification process in Cusco, we will transfer the bodies to Lima," said an embassy official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "With permission from the Peruvian foreign ministry, we believe we'll be able to fly the bodies to Korea as early as Thursday."
The victims were among 14 people killed in a helicopter crash in the Andes last Wednesday while returning from a trip to a potential site for a hydropower plant near Mazuco in southeastern Peru. The wreckage of the helicopter was discovered Saturday on Mama Rosa mountain at about 4,950 meters above sea level, and the victims' bodies were recovered the following day.
The Koreans were employees of Samsung C&T, the engineering and construction arm of Samsung Group, the Korea Water Resources Corp., the Korea Engineering Consultants Corp. and Seoyeong Engineering. Three Peruvians, one Dutchman, one Swede and one Czech were also killed in the crash.
The bereaved family members looked calm and composed as they left the morgue, but did not respond to reporters' questions asking if they saw the bodies.
The cause of the crash is not yet clear, although officials believe it was due to bad weather.
Embassy officials said they are working with the Peruvian government to determine the exact cause of the crash, but quoted Peruvian officials as saying it could take at least three months or even a year before the investigation is complete.
Korean Ambassador to Lima Park Hee-kwon plans to meet with the chief of the Peruvian transport ministry's aviation bureau later in the day to discuss details of the crash and whether a black box was installed in the ill-fated aircraft, officials said.