6 killed in Nepal chopper crash
KATHMANDU, Nepal (3rd UPDATE) – A helicopter crashed into a hillside in central Nepal on Saturday, killing 6 on board, including a Japanese tourist, officials said.
One woman survived the crash with injuries and has been airlifted to the capital.
Rescuers travelled on foot to reach the chopper's wreckage, spotted on a forested hillside in neighboring Nuwakot district. Officials had earlier said that the helicopter went down in Dhadhing, an adjoining district.
"In total, 6 people have died in the crash, including the pilot, but one survived," Nuwakot police chief Basanta Bahadur Kunwar told Agence France-Presse.
Kunwar said that they were working to retrieve the bodies.
The single-pilot Kathmandu-bound Altitude Air helicopter was carrying 6 passengers, including a Japanese trekker, when it lost contact with air traffic control after taking off from the central district of Gorkha.
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 lackluster maintenance.
In 2016, 7 people were killed in a helicopter crash 22 kilometers (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. – Rappler.com