BOGOTA: The Colombian army said Wednesday they recovered two bodies from a helicopter crash in a jungle region where guerrillas are active, bringing the toll to 11 dead and six wounded.
The Black Hawk helicopter went down on Monday with 17 people aboard on a stretch of the Inirida River, in the country’s southeastern jungle region.
The wounded soldiers, along with the bodies of nine of their comrades, were rescued on Tuesday, but two soldiers were missing, officials said.
The two final bodies were found and taken to the nearby town of Mitu, in the Vaupes department, before being moved to the capital Bogota, the army said in a statement.
President Ivan Duque earlier lamented on Twitter what he described as “an accident,” but the army has not said if the helicopter crashed or was shot down.
The helicopter was supporting a military sweep against FARC dissidents – leftist guerrillas who refused to sign the peace deal their comrades reached with the government in 2016, the army said.
There are some 2,300 dissident guerrilla fighters, according to military intelligence estimates, who survive thanks to drug trafficking, illegal mining and an extensive support network.
The area where the helicopter went down is known for growing drug crops.
Colombia is the world’s top producer of coca leaves, the source plant for cocaine.