Chopper crashes en route from Peru mine

( AP ) - A helicopter ferrying passengers from an Anglo-Australian-owned copper mine in the Andes has crashed with 10 people aboard, and the wreckage was spotted from the air Wednesday, police said.

Jesus Tapia, police chief of the nearby town of Santa Cruz, said it was not clear if there were survivors, but he said rescuers who spotted it from the air reported the helicopter was destroyed.

Some of the passengers aboard the helicopter were employees of the La Granja mine owned by the Rio Tinto Group, the company said, but it did not specify numbers or nationalities.

Tapia said the helicopter's co-pilot was an American citizen, but said he did not have his name. The helicopter belonged to the Peruvian company Helinka-Evergreen.

Tapia said rescue workers had not yet reached the crash site near the mine, which is outside the northern Andean city of Cajamarca.

Rio Tinto said in a statement that the Bell 412B helicopter left the La Granja mine for the northern Pacific coastal city of Chiclayo around 10 a.m. Tuesday and was reported missing 12 minutes later.

The group includes Rio Tinto PLC in Britain and Rio Tinto Limited in Australia.

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