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Statement on the news of WWF staff, others missing in Nepal

"WWF was notified this morning that a helicopter traveling in Nepal with seven WWF staff on board has failed to arrive at its destination. The Shree Air helicopter had 20 passengers and four crew and was transporting passengers back from a conservation site at Ghunsa, in the far-east mountains of Nepal. In addition to the WWF staff members, passengers included government officials from Nepal and Finland along with representatives of organizations including USAID."

"The flight, which was transporting passengers from a ceremony marking the handover of the conservation area to the local community, was expected to take about 20 minutes. More than six hours have elapsed since take-off without any contact. While we have no facts yet about what happened, we understand that a search has been initiated. Although bad weather is preventing a search by air, two search teams are proceeding on foot."

"A team of WWF staff in Washington, the UK and Switzerland are working diligently in conjunction with Nepalese, US and Finnish authorities to mobilize resources needed to aid in the search. In the US, WWF has already been in contact with US Embassy in Nepal, U.S State Department officials, as well as the family members of US-based WWF staff members on the flight."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with these travelers and their families."