Chopper crash victims rescued in Panama jungle after social media SOS

Six people have been rescued alive from a helicopter crash site in the Panama jungle after a dramatic SOS appeal on social media from one of the occupants, a presidential hopeful.

Rescuers sprang into action after Dimitri Flores posted a video online appealing for help, groaning in pain with the helicopter wreckage behind him.

“We had an accident here,” Flores told the camera, making an appeal for an urgent rescue mission.

“There are broken legs, arms. We are six… we are alive,” he said.

In a later video, Flores complained that they had been waiting at the crash site in a jungle area of Panama’s southwest for four hours and 20 minutes.

“It was a titanic task to get the wounded out,” Daniel Rodriguez, deputy commissioner of Panama’s National Aeronaval Service (Senan) said on Thursday.

He said the crash happened on Wednesday morning in a mountainous, wooded area more than 1,700 meters (more than 5,500 feet) above sea level.

Rodriguez said the authorities received a callout around 11.00 am on Wednesday (1600 GMT) and rescued the first group around 8.00 pm.

Two of them had broken bones.

Given the difficult terrain, the last crash victim was evacuated shortly before midnight, said Rodriguez.