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A H Khan

Published:
2018-09-08 15:03:41 BdST

Chopper crashes in Nepal with seven people aboard


A helicopter with seven people on board crashed into a hillside in central Nepal on Saturday with the condition of the passengers unknown, officials said.

The single-pilot Kathmandu-bound Altitude Air helicopter was carrying six
passengers, including a Japanese trekker, when it lost contact with air
traffic control after taking off from the central district of Gorkha.

The chopper’s wreckage had been spotted on a forested hillside in
neighbouring Dhadhing district, said Kathmandu airport general manager Raj
Kumar Chettri.

“We are trying to reach the crash site by air and on foot. But the weather
is hampering our rescue operations,” he told AFP.

Nepal has a booming private helicopter industry, flying tourists and goods
to remote corners of the Himalayan nation where road access is limited or
non-existent.

But the impoverished country has a poor air safety record due to poorly
trained staff and lacklustre maintenance.

In 2016, seven people were killed in a helicopter crash 22 kilometres (14
miles) north of the capital.

There were multiple helicopter accidents, claiming over a dozen lives, in
the wake of a powerful 2015 earthquake when choppers were used to rescue the
injured and deliver aid to communities cut off by the disaster.

The European Union banned all Nepalese airlines following international
alarm over the country’s air safety record.

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