Three killed in plane crash in Nepal

Clay Curtis
April 17, 2019

A small plane veered off the runway and hit two helicopters while taking off near Mount Everest yesterday, killing three people and injuring three, officials said.

The death toll in Sunday's aircraft collision in Nepal's Lukla airport climbed to three, according to Nepal Police Headquarters, Trend reports citing Xinhua. "The injured have been sent to Kathmandu for treatment", Lukla Airport official Ema Nath Adhikari told Agence France-Presse.

The plane skidded off the runaway, hitting the helicopter of Manang Air.

S Dhungana, co-pilot of the plane, and Assistant Sub-Inspector Ram Bahadur Khadka, who was stationed at the helipad, were killed in the incident, Tribhuvan International Airport spokesperson Pratap Babu Tiwari was quoted as saying by the paper.

The Lukla airport is the nearest airport to Mount Qomolangma, while April-May is the peak climbing season in the Himalayan country.

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Both aircraft involved in the incident belong to private airline companies that cater to tourists and Nepalese in the country's remote areas.

A civil administrator, Narendra Kumar Rana, said the four passengers and a flight attendant on the plane were safe. But the airport has been dubbed one of the world's most risky because of the short runway and hard approach. Only helicopters and small winged aircraft are allowed in this airspace.

Before pilots can land there they must have completed at least 100 short-takeoff-and-landing flights (STOL) and have one year of STOL experience in Nepal and have completed ten missions into Lukla with a certified instructor pilot before they can land at the airport.

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

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