Perenco helicopter crashes in Peru, 13 dead: source

LIMA Sun Apr 7, 2013 7:22pm EDT

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LIMA (Reuters) - A helicopter chartered by French oil company Perenco has crashed in a remote northern part of Peru, killing all 13 Peruvians aboard, including one Perenco employee and representatives of three contractors, a company source told Reuters.

Perenco confirmed the accident, adding "at this stage, no survivors have been found." A Peruvian official usually has to confirm a death toll in an accident before a company can publicly confirm the casualties.

The helicopter went down in the sparsely populated region of Loreto, Peru, near the border with Ecuador. It had left the jungle city of Iquitos to fly to the company's Block 67, the company said.

There were nine passengers and four crew members on board, it added.

"The Peruvian Army is at the scene and two additional helicopters are supporting the rescue efforts," Perenco said in a statement.

Block 67 is a 630-square-mile (1,020-square-kilometer) block of more than 300 million barrels.

Media reports initially put the death toll at nine.

This is the second accident of the year involving a helicopter used by energy companies that work in the remote, oil-rich Peruvian jungle.

(Reporting by Omar Mariluz; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Stacey Joyce and Todd Eastham)

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