On July 11, 2023, six people, including five Mexicans, were killed in a helicopter crash near Mount Everest in Nepal. Rescuers have found all six dead bodies that were broken to pieces.
The Private Commercial helicopter came from Surke, in the Solunkhunuvhu district, which is home to Mount Everest and other high-altitude mountains. The helicopter had lost radio contact for fifteen minutes while in flight. When the chopper tried to re-establish contact, it only received a hello message on Viber.
Captain Chet Bahadur Gurung was identified as one of the passengers by the Kathmandu Post. He has been with Manang Air for a decade and has been flying since 1998. The helicopter was owned by Manang Air which ferries tourists seeking a view of the country’s towering peaks, including Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain.
The dead passengers were identified as Sifuentes Fernando, Sifuentes Rincon Ismail, both males and three female passengers named Sifuentes Gongalez Abril, Gongalez Olacio Luz, and Sifuentes G Maria Jese, as per My República news portal reported.
According to reports, the helicopter which was to land in Kathmandu had altered its flight route due to unfavorable weather conditions, reported by airport official Sagar Kadel. The chopper with the registration number 9N-AMV went off the radar at around 10 AM in the Lamjura Pass area, and later, debris was located by the residents of a village in Lamjura in the Solunkhunvhu district.
The cause of the crash is still a mystery, and the Nepalese government will set up a probe committee to investigate the chopper crash. The locals discovered the crashed helicopter after a loud explosion in Chihandanda.
Nepal’s tourist and mountaineering season ended in May. The flights carrying tourists to the mountains are less common than the time of the year as visibility is poor and weather conditions fickle.
Founded in 1997, Manang Air is a helicopter airline based in Kathmandu. It has been operating helicopters in commercial air transportation within the Nepalese territory under the Regulation of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. The company provides chartered services and also focuses on personalised services such as adventure flights, helicopter expeditions and excursion work.
The Himalayan nation of Nepal is famous for its deadly air crashes where several airlines fly to small airports in remote hills and mountains shrouded in clouds and cut off from roads. According to the Aviation Safety Database, there have been at least 27 air crashes in Nepal.
The rugged mountainous terrain, unpredictable weather, and dearth of investment in new planes, coupled with poor regulations and infrastructure, are the primary causes of a large chunk of airline crashes and unfortunate incidents happening in the country.
The most gruesome airline crash in Nepal was on January 15, 2023, when 68 out of the total 72 people from Yeti Airlines crashed in Nepal’s Pokhara.
In May 2022, a Tara Airplane with 22 people on board, including four Indians from Thane, Maharashtra, crashed in Nepal’s mountainous Mustang District. In February 2019, an Air Dynasty helicopter crashed into a hill as it was attempting to find its way back to Kathmandu.
On March 12, 2018, a US-Bangla Airline carrying 67 passengers and four crew members crashed at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. In February 2016, an Air Kashtamandap aircraft carrying 11 people crashed in the Kalikot district in Nepal. Two crew members were killed, and the nine passengers were grievously injured.
In May 2012, thirteen Indian pilgrims were among the fifteen persons killed when a Dornier Plane crashed into a hilltop in northern Nepal. The saga of airline crashes in Nepal began in July 1969 onwards.