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11th Jul 2023

Six killed after tourist helicopter crashes near Mount Everest

Charlie Herbert

The helicopter wreckage has been located

Six people have been killed following a helicopter crash near Mount Everest in Nepal.

The news comes just hours after it was reported that the aircraft carrying five tourists was missing after taking off this morning.

The aircraft, operated by the private company Manang Air based in Kathmandu, dropped off radar at 10.12am local time after departing from the mountainous Solukhumbu district in eastern Nepal.

The helicopter was piloted by senior captain Chet Gurung, the outlet reported, citing sources from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport.

Airport official Sagar Kadel said weather conditions had caused changes to be made to the helicopter’s flight route.

It has since been confirmed that the helicopter wreckage has been found and all six of the people onboard were killed in the crash.

Pratap Babu Tiwari, general manager at the Tribhuvan international airport, told AFP: “Manang Air helicopter 9N-AMV (AS50) which went missing this morning at 10:13 Local time, was found crashed at Solukhumbu district Likhupike, Ward No. 5 near Lamjura.

“Locals and the police who reached the crashed site reported all 6 persons including Pilot dead.”

Tiwari also named the six people on board as Nepalese Captain C.B. Gurung and Mexican tourists Sifuentes G. Fernando, Gonzalez Abric, Gonzalez Olacio Luz, Sifuentes G. Maria Jose and Rincon Ismael.

The exact cause of the crash is still unknown but an investigation will be launched, according to The Express Tribune.

Manang Air spokesperson Raju Neupane said: “The helicopter took off in good weather. The weather was not bad. Now we can’t say what caused the crash. It will have to be investigated.”

In contrast, Tiwari said in his statement that when two Altitude Air helicopters departed for search-and-rescue, they were unable to land at the site of the crash due to “adverse weather.”

“Efforts are being made to carry the dead bodies by ground transportation to the helicopter landing area and further to Kathmandu,” he continued.

“Another helicopter of Simrik Air is also being mobilized for the rescue operation.”

The Tribhuvan International Airport Civil Aviation Office issued an update this afternoon to confirm that all six bodies “have been airlifted to Kathmandu Teaching hospital for post-mortem.”

The tourist and mountaineering season ended in May, and tourist flights are not common at this time of the year due to the weather conditions.

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