KATHMANDU, Nepal (CBS/AP) — A U.S. Marine Corps combat photographer from Illinois is among the eight dead who were aboard a Marine helicopter that crashed during a relief mission in earthquake-hit Nepal.
Officials identified the victims Sunday. Cpl. Sara A. Medina, a combat photographer from with Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Okinawa, Japan, and a native of Aurora, Illinois, was among them.READ MORE: Jussie Smollett Trial: Defense Attorney Calls For Mistrial And Accuses Judge Of Lunging At Her; Judge Denies Claims And Motion
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner ordered flags in Illinois lowered to half-staff.
“Cpl. Sara Medina made the ultimate sacrifice while assisting the people of Nepal during their time of crisis, and her death is a loss for the State of Illinois and the nation,” Rauner said. “Cpl. Medina’s courage and dedication to serving and protecting others makes her a role model for all of us. She will never be forgotten. Diana and I extend our deepest sympathies to her family, and the families of her fellow fallen comrades, during this time of mourning.”
According to the Marine Corps Times, Medina enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2010 and was previously deployed in South Korea, the Philippines, Japan, Australia and the U.S. She was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and the Korean Defense Service Medal.
The wreckage of the UH-1 “Huey” was found Friday following days of intense searching in the mountains northeast of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. The first three charred bodies were retrieved Friday by Nepalese and U.S. military teams, and the rest were found Saturday.READ MORE: Pedestrian Struck And Killed On I-57 In Will County; Southbound Lanes Closed
The other U.S. Marines who were killed were Capt. Dustin R. Lukasiewicz, from Nebraska, Capt. Christopher L. Norgren, from Kansas, Sgt. Ward M. Johnson IV, from Florida, Sgt. Eric M. Seaman, from California, Cpl. and Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Hug, from Arizona, according to a statement from the U.S. military joint task force in Okinawa, Japan.
Nepal’s army identified its soldiers as Tapendra Rawal and Basanta Titara, and said all eight bodies have been flown to Kathmandu.
The U.S. relief mission was deployed after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, killing more than 8,200 people. A magnitude-7.3 quake struck the country on Tuesday, killing at least 117 people and injuring about 2,800.
The helicopter went missing Tuesday while delivering rice and tarps in Charikot, the area worst hit by that day’s quake. It had dropped off supplies in one location and was en route to a second site when contact was lost.
The cause of the crash has not been determined. U.S. military officials have said that an Indian helicopter in the air nearby heard radio chatter from the Huey aircraft about a possible fuel problem.MORE NEWS: Notre Dame Promotes Freeman To Replace Kelly As Head Coach
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