Tegulcigalpa/Sydney - Contrary to reports in international media, the bodies of the three people on board a helicopter that went missing in Honduras last Monday were not retrieved from the sea by villagers in Punta Piedra. Today, a search operation that was carried out by aid organisation MSF and the French army found the body of pilot Javier Alvarado Torres but failed to locate the helicopter.
Australian doctor Jane Connor and her patient Moises Soto are still missing.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the MSF team in Cusuna had searched the flight routes to Trujillo by car and on foot, as well as with asistance from an MSF helicopter from a nearby project. On Wednesday evening, MSF was informed that a helicopter pilot from the Venezuelan army, who in collaboration with the Honduran army had joined the search efforts, had spotted a helicopter tail off the coast near Punta Piedra. The next morning the same search helicopter flew back to the location of the wreckage, but failed to find it.
With support from the French army, MSF continued the search and rescue operation on Friday morning. At 10:15am the search had to be suspended due to bad weather. When the weather cleared the operation was resumed. Around 4pm local time the body of the pilot was found by the French army and recovered from the water.