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The parents who have identified their son as the pilot of a U.S. Marine helicopter that crashed in Nepal said they are holding on to a sliver of hope that he might still be alive.
"I still believe in my heart that there might be some hope out there," Capt. Chris Norgren's mother, Terri, told reporters in the family's home Friday. Norgren's father Ron said he also hasn't given up on the possibility his son might have survived, "but we know it doesn't look good."
Six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers were on board the UH-1Y Huey helicopter when it vanished over Charikot, Nepal, Tuesday night while delivering aid, after the nation was hit with an earthquake on April 25 and a powerful aftershock Tuesday morning.
U.S. officials said Friday that wreckage of the aircraft had been spotted in remote terrain about eight miles north of Charikot.
"It was a very severe crash and based on what we saw and the condition of the aircraft we believe there were no survivors," Lt. Gen. John Wissler said at a news conference in Kathmandu.
The U.S. military has not identified anyone who was on the helicopter, but Ron Norgren said Marine Corps officials visited the family's home before the chopper was located and told them Chris was among the missing.
Norgren's parents described him as a selfless, family-focused man. "He loves God, loves family and loves to be able to help people," his mother said. "That's what he was doing."
"He was just an amazing individual," Ron Norgren said.
Terri Norgren said she was worried about the emotional toll going to Nepal would have on her son. "He’s a very strong person but he’s a very sensitive person also," she said.
He told her, "'mom, somebody has to do it,'" she said.
The parents said the last communication they had with their son was on Mother's Day, two days before the chopper went down. Ron Norgren said he would "treasure" the text messages the couple shared with Chris on Sunday.
Ron Norgren said he will most miss hugs from his son, who towered nearly a foot over him. "Boy he’d lean down and give me a hug, and I’m going to miss those hugs," Ron Norgren said.