Three killed, four seriously injured as plane collides with chopper in Nepal

Cheryl Sanders
April 17, 2019

Three people are confirmed dead when a Summit Air Let L-410UVP collided with a parked Manang Air helicopter while taking off for Ramechhap at Lukla airport in Nepal today.

Reports say the plane skidded off the runway to the right and hit the helicopter that had just landed from Kathmandu - cutting it in two.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport is known as the gateway to Everest and is regarded the world's most risky because of its hard approach and short runway. Assistant Sub-Inspector Rudra Bahadur Shrestha, who was injured in the incident and airlifted to Kathmandu, died at Grande Hospital, hospital sources said.

Airport official Ema Nath Adhikari spoke to Straits Times, saying: "The plane slipped toward the helipad during takeoff and collided with two helicopters".

The crash occurred on Sunday morning as the jet was trying to take off from Lukla for the capital, Kathmandu, according to aviation official Raj Kumar Chhetri.

It is also popular as Lukla is the place where most people begin to climb the Mount Everest Base Camp.

Four passengers on board the plane were unhurt.

The Lukla Airport has a track record for being the World's Most Dangerous Airport with a small runway (527 m) flanked by Mountains and treacherous terrain. It is open only to helicopters and small fixed-wing aircraft.

In May 2017, a cargo flight was landing in Lukla when it lost altitude and crashed into a mountain below the runway, killing both pilots.

Last month, seven people, including Nepal's tourism minister were killed in a helicopter crash in eastern Nepal.

Nepal has been criticised for poor safety measures, with the European Union denying Nepalese airlines access to its airspace since 2013.

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