LIMA: All 14 people aboard a helicopter that went down in the mountains of southern Peru, including eight South Koreans, are dead, authorities said Saturday.
"We are enroute to the accident site where the helicopter and the bodies are located," prosecutor Cesar Guevara, of the town of Urcos in the southern department of Cusco, told N television by phone.
Earlier on Thuesday it was reported that a helicopter carrying 11 South Koreans, two Austrians and a Peruvian pilot had gone missing in the mountains of southern Peru, police.
The helicopter left the city of Mazuco in the southeastern region of Madre de Dios late on Wednesday and set off across the Andes for the tourist hub of Cusco but never showed up at its destination.
Officials voiced hoped that the helicopter, run by Heli Cusco, had made an emergency landing in the remote Hualla Hualla region, which is at an altitude of 4,725 meters (15,500 feet) some 140 kilometers (90 miles) from Cusco.
"We have information from the company that the aircraft was carrying 11 South Koreans, two Austrians and a Peruvian," Cusco police chief General Hector Dulanto told AFP.
"We hope the helicopter was able to make an emergency landing."
The Interior Ministry denied reports that the passengers had died.
"No national police official has provided such information, as the search and rescue teams have not yet reached the area where the helicopter is believed to be located," it said in a statement.
A snow storm in the area was slowing down the rescue effort, the interior ministry said, highlighting "particular weather and geographic conditions that present challenges for the operation."
The interior ministry said a national police mountain patrol was waiting at Cusco airport for the storm to clear before setting off.
"Operations from the air have not been possible so far due to weather conditions preventing the departure of the helicopter that will carry the crew," said Heli Cusco.
Dulanto said "snowfall at dawn hampered the progress of the patrols," adding that a police helicopter would join the rescue effort once the storm had passed.
Local media said the South Korean and Austrian passengers were tourists likely headed for Machu Picchu, the fabled 15th century Incan city perched on a mountain high above the town of Aguas Caliente in the Cusco region.
Hundreds of thousands of tourists descend on the Cusco region every year to visit Machu Picchu.
A small plane crashed in February 2010 during an aerial tour of the famed Nazca Lines archeological site in southern Peru, killing the Peruvian pilot and all six tourists on board.
Five French tourists were killed in April 2008 when their plane crashed near the Nazca Lines, prompting the French government to warn tourists against flying in the country -- a recommendation criticized at the time by Lima.