UNITED NATIONS, June 29 (UPI) -- U.N. officials Tuesday said they fear there were no survivors in the crash of a U.N.-chartered helicopter in Sierra Leone which was carrying 24 people.
The MI-8 craft, described as a "civil contractor helicopter" hired by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone, crashed at 9:20 a.m. local time Tuesday on a flight from Hastings, outside the capital of Freetown, to Yengema, in the east of the West Africa nation, a spokeswoman for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement issued at U.N. World Headquarters in New York. It carried a crew of three.
Annan is traveling in the Middle East.
The helicopter carried United Nations and non-U.N. personnel, spokeswoman Marie Okabe said. It went down in such inaccessible, hilly country that the nearest a rescue chopper could land to the burning wreckage was over a mile from the crash scene.
"Military officials confirm there were no survivors," she said. There was neither a breakdown of passengers nor their identities.