Nepalese tourism minister among 7 killed in chopper crash

Published February 28, 2019
Staff of Yeti Airlines reacts at the Tribhuban Domestic airport in Kahmandu on February 27, 2019.— AFP
Staff of Yeti Airlines reacts at the Tribhuban Domestic airport in Kahmandu on February 27, 2019.— AFP

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s tourism minister Rabindra Adhikari was among seven people killed on Wednesday when a helicopter crashed in the country’s hilly east, officials said.

Rescue workers retrieved the bodies of Adhikari, 49, the pilot and five other passengers from a hillside in Taplejung district where the Air Dynasty chopper went down. “The respected minister’s body has been identified,” home affairs ministry spokesman Ram Krishna Subedi said in a press conference.

The minister’s personal bodyguard has been identified as among the dead. The owner of the helicopter company was also aboard but his body has not been formally identified.

Subedi said two army helicopters had been dispatched to bring the bodies back to the capital Kathmandu. Two other private helicopters had also been sent to assist but local authorities said snowy weather had made it difficult for the choppers to land.

A search and rescue team was deployed to the area after locals alerted authorities to flames and smoke rising from a hillside.

“The helicopter is in pieces, and scattered all over. Everything was in flames,” said Suraj Bhattarai, a witness who saw the debris.

The helicopter crashed into the hillside minutes after taking off from a nearby temple, a local official said. The minister was on a trip to scope out a new airstrip in the region.

The exact causes of the crash remain unknown. It is just the latest aviation accident to plague Nepal, an impoverished Himalayan nation with a poor air safety record.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2019

Opinion

Editorial

Afghan challenge
Updated 15 Jul, 2024

Afghan challenge

Foreign states must emphasise to the Afghan Taliban diplomatic recognition and trade relations all depend on greater counterterrorism efforts.
‘Complete’ justice
15 Jul, 2024

‘Complete’ justice

NOW that the matter of PTI’s reserved seats stands resolved, there are several equally pressing issues pertaining...
Drug fog
15 Jul, 2024

Drug fog

THE country has an old drug problem. While the menace has raged across divides of class and gender, successive ...
Miles to go
Updated 14 Jul, 2024

Miles to go

Some reforms agreed with the Fund are going to seriously impact economic growth and fresh investments, at least in the short term.
Iddat ruling
14 Jul, 2024

Iddat ruling

IT was a needless, despicable spectacle which only ended up uniting both conservatives and progressives in ...
Cricket shake-up
14 Jul, 2024

Cricket shake-up

SOMEONE had to take the blame and bear the brunt of the fallout from Pakistan’s disastrous showing at the T20 ...