Central Florida man's Marine son missing in Nepal

Mark Johnson IV aboard helicopter that vanished

Local 6 News at Noon
Local 6 News at Noon

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – The wreckage of a missing U.S. helicopter and three bodies were found overnight, but it's not yet known if one of the victims is a Marine who has ties to Central Florida.

Ward Mark Johnson IV, 29, was on board a helicopter with five other Marines and two soldiers from Nepal when the aircraft vanished on Tuesday. The crew was working to provide relief efforts in areas affected by recent earthquakes.

Radio transmissions indicate that the crew experienced some type of fuel problem before it disappeared.  The wreckage was located about 20 miles east of Kathmandu, an area hit hard by the quakes.

Johnson, who studied at Seminole State College, now lives in South Carolina, but his parents live in Altamonte Springs. 

Johnson's father, Ward Johnson, told Local 6 that he is sick over his son's disappearance.

Ward Mark Johnson has a wife and children, and his friends and family are holding out hope that he is safe.

Seminole State said Ward Mark Johnson enrolled at the school in 2003 and earned
two degrees: an associate of science degree in automotive service management technology in August 2005 and an associate of arts in December 2008.

"Records show that Ward was a good student who took a rigorous curriculum while at the college," the school said in statement.  "We hope that Ward and his fellow crew members will be found safely. Our thoughts are with him, his family and friends at this difficult time."