(Update 1: changes headline, adds toll, details)
Kathmandu, July 11 (EFE).- A helicopter crashed near Mount Everest in Nepal on Tuesday, killing all six people – five tourists and a pilot – on board, according to the police.
Captain Chet Bahadur Gurung and five Mexican nationals were on the Manang Air helicopter that disappeared from radar early in the morning in the Lamjura area of the Everest region.
Nwang Lhakpa Sherpa, Deputy Chairman of Likhu Pike Rural Municipality, informed EFE that local residents discovered the crashed helicopter.
Dipak Kumar Shrestha, the Deputy Superintendent of Police of Solukhumbu district – where the accident occurred -, told EFE that preparations were under way to airlift the bodies to Kathmandu after completing necessary documentation.
However, he added that airlifting the bodies to the capital could face setbacks due to the prevailing bad weather.
Raju Neupane, Manang’s safety manager, told EFE that the helicopter, having the registration number 9N-AMV, crashed at an altitude of around 11,000 feet.
He added that two choppers deployed for search and rescue operations had been unable to land at the crash site as it was “raining heavily.”
The five Mexican tourists were from the same family – a couple with one son and two daughters -, who were in Nepal for a helicopter tour of Mt. Everest, according to Neupane.
Nepal has experienced a number of air accidents, resulting in repeated international sanctions due to the lack of safety controls. The European Union (EU) has banned Nepali airlines from accessing its territory since 2013.
In February 2019, a helicopter carrying seven passengers, including the Nepali Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Rabindra Adhikari, crashed, killing all onboard.
Another Altitude Air helicopter crashed in a jungle area in the Gorkha district of northern Nepal, resulting in the death of six people, including the pilot, while one passenger survived.
The most devastating plane crash in recent years in Nepal occurred in January 2023, when a Yeti Airlines flight carrying 72 passengers crashed, with no survivors. Authorities attributed the accident to human error. EFE