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Body of Last Victim from Crashed Helicopter Found

The body of the last victim from a crashed quake relief helicopter in China was found after a 12-day search, military sources said on Wednesday.

Thus, the remains of all 18 people who were aboard the copter, including five crew members and 13 civilians injured in the May 12 earthquake, have all been found at the crash site near the epicenter town of Yingxiu, the Sichuan military quake relief headquarters said.

The black box voice recorder was also found afterwards, the headquarters said.

On Tuesday, searchers discovered the wreckage of the chopper that crashed deep in the mountains on May 31 while ferrying 13 people injured in the quake. The wreckage was widely scattered among heavy vegetation.

One person formerly reported as having been on board did not take the helicopter.

More than 100 people have arrived at the crash site to clear the scene and do forensic identification.

Photo-taking, DNA sampling, identity confirmation and epidemic prevention have all been done on the remains, the headquarters said.

However, the shipping of the bodies to Yingxiu would be no easy task due to the complicated terrain and unstable weather conditions, the military admitted, adding they might not arrive at Yingxiu until Friday.

About 100 helicopters were deployed to find the missing Mi-171 military transport helicopter, while more than 300 rescue teams, consisting of more than 10,000 troops, armed police, militia, reservists and local residents, combed the region to search for the missing aircraft.

(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2008)

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