Search parties hunted on Tuesday for a Venezuelan military helicopter that went missing five days ago in bad weather over the Amazon jungle with 13 people on board.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said local indigenous communities were helping army rescuers search the densely-forested area on foot and by boat, but poor weather conditions were preventing overflights.

As well as the four-man crew, the Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter was carrying four local indigenous inhabitants, five military personnel who were to relieve colleagues at a post, and supplies, when it went off the radar on Dec. 30.

"We have had information from indigenous inhabitants who saw the helicopter fly over," Padrino said. "But so far, by air it's been practically impossible to reach the area where we presume there was a forced landing ... We keep faith that they are OK."