Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Three People Killed as Plane Crashes Into Helicopter Near Mount Everest

Three People Killed as Plane Crashes Into Helicopter Near Mount Everest

Reports suggest the plane skidded off the runway to the right and hit the helicopter as it landed from Kathmandu.

"Two people died on the spot and the third one died while undergoing treatment in a hospital in Kathmandu", said Pratap Babu Tiwari, an airport official.

The uncontrolled aircraft had hit the helicopters of Manang Air and Shree Air.

Among the dead were the pilot of the plane and two police officers who were near the parked helicopter.

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.

Lukla Airport is used by thousands of trekkers and climbers heading to the Everest region each year.

With the spring season tourist influx steadily increasing at the Mount Everest, many private Airline Aircraft like the ones involved in the incident, land and take off from the Lukla Airport which is touted as the 'Gateway to Mt. Everest'. It is often referred to as one of the most hard and unsafe airports in the world because of a short runway (527 metres) and challenging terrain.

It's open only to helicopters and small fixed-wing aircraft and sits at 9,334 feet.

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.

Seven people, including the country's tourism minister, were killed in February when a helicopter crashed in the hilly east.

The European Union has banned all Nepalese Airline flights on its airspace over safety concerns.

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