A family of five and a pilot were killed on July 11, 2023, when a sightseeing helicopter crashed near Mount Everest in Nepal.
The Manang Air helicopter was returning from the tour of the world’s highest peak to the capital city of Kathmandu.
It was reported missing when it lost contact with the tower at 10:13 a.m. local time, eight minutes after taking off, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said in a statement.
Locals and security agencies were mobilized for the rescue efforts and the crash site was discovered at Chihandanda in the Lamjura region of the Bhakanje village.
Two Altitude Air helicopters arrived at the site to assist in recovering the bodies. Despite the rescuers experiencing “adverse weather”, Tribhuvan International Airport Civil Aviation Office shared that “all six dead bodies have been airlifted to Kathmandu Teaching Hospital for post-mortem”.
Among the deceased were a Mexican family of five, including two elderly members, aged 98 and 95.
According to authorities, the pilot was identified as Captain Chet B Gurung, one of the most experienced pilots in the region with over 7,000 flying hours.
“Now we cannot say what caused the crash. It will have to be investigated,” a spokesperson for Manang Air said.
Unfortunately, Nepal’s rapidly growing private helicopter industry has been marred by a notorious track record of poor air safety, evidenced by numerous accidents in recent years. This latest incident stands as the 42nd helicopter crash in the country’s history.
The concerns over air safety even led to the European Union prohibiting all Nepali carriers from its airspace as of December 5, 2013.