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Six dead when tourist helicopter crashes on Mount Everest


Six people have died after a helicopter carrying tourists crashed near Mount Everest.

Five Mexican tourists and a Nepali pilot were on board the Manang Air plane when it crashed around 10 a.m. local time Tuesday in eastern Nepal’s Solukhumbu district, home to several high mountain peaks.

Rescuers recovered the bodies of the six people, said Sita Adhikari, a regional official.

“The bodies have been torn to pieces,” Ms Adhikari added. “More police have been dispatched to the scene. Only then will we know the details.”

The cause of the crash was not yet known, the civil aviation regulator said, adding that the government would set up a committee to investigate the incident.

Manang Air is one of many operators that routinely fly tourists to the Himalayas to glimpse the mighty peaks of Nepal.

The plane was returning to Kathmandu, the capital, on Tuesday morning after taking the group on a sightseeing trip to Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain.

Airport official Sagar Kadel said weather conditions had caused changes to the helicopter’s planned flight path.

Approximately 10 minutes after takeoff at 10:04 am (0419 GMT), the aircraft disappeared from radar and lost contact with air traffic control.

Local media identified the helicopter pilot as Captain Chet Bahadur Gurung, a highly experienced pilot who has been operating the Manang Air craft for the past decade.

Nepal is known for its poor aviation safety record, with the latest incident coming nearly six months after a plane crashed near the central resort city of Pokhara, killing all 72 people on board.

The Himalayan country has some of the most challenging flying conditions in the world, with snow-capped peaks and remote runways with approaches challenging even expert pilots.

Weather conditions can often change rapidly in the mountains, adding to the difficulty.

It is common for flights to be delayed and routes to change during the monsoon season amid heavy rain.

The tourist and mountaineering season ended in May with the start of the rainy season, and tourist flights to the mountains are less common at this time of year, as visibility is poor and weather conditions become unpredictable.

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