The Nepalese authorities recovered the bodies of the six people who died in a helicopter crash on Tuesday, including five Mexican citizens, this in the latest in a series of air disasters to hit the Himalayan nation.
The cause of the crash near Likkhu, just northeast of the capital Kathmandu, is still unknown, the civil aviation regulator said, adding that the government would set up a committee to investigate. The helicopter was operated by Manang Air, which transports tourists who seek a view, but not climb, of the imposing peaks of the country, including Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world.
“Five bodies have been recovered from the crash site and the search operation is underway,” police said, adding that the crash was 3,500 meters above sea level in the Lamjura Pass.
The victims were identified. The names were adapted as close to Spanish due to the difficulty of transcribing them from the Nepali language. Both the exact names and their age will be confirmed in the next few hours by the Mexican authorities, but the balance is three men and three women.
- Fernando Sifuentes Gonzalez (95)
- Ismael Sifuentes Rincón (98),
- April Sifuentes González (72),
- Maria Jose Sifuentes Gonzalez (52)
- Luz Horacio González (65),
- Chet Bahadur Gurung (Helicopter Captain)
Name list of the passengers of manang helicopter pic.twitter.com/fOZ4qT8M0w
—Nischal mahat (@workingonmydown) July 11, 2023
The Mexican embassy in India, headed by Ambassador Federico Salas Lotfe, reported that “it is in continuous communication and working with the Nepalese authorities in relation to the tragic helicopter accident that occurred today.” in the next few hours The Mexican diplomatic representation will carry out the first actions with the support of local authorities to manage the repatriation of the bodies to our country.
The helicopter had departed from Surke Airport en route to Kathmandu, with a scheduled departure time of 10:05 a.m. (local time). However, 8 minutes later, at 10:13 a.m., the helicopter suddenly lost all communication while flying at an altitude above 12,000 feet (3,657 meters).
“The helicopter took off…in good weather,” said Raju Neupane, a spokesman for Manang Air. “The weather was not bad. Now we cannot say what caused the accident. It will have to be investigated.”
Rescue teams recovered the bodies of all six, said Basanta Bhattarai, the top bureaucrat in Solukhumbu district, where the accident occurred.
“We have already sent four bodies to Kathmandu by helicopter and we are preparing to send the remaining two soon,” Bhattarai said from the crash site.
He said that the rescuers they had packed the dead in body bags and were waiting at a helipad for the weather to clear so the helicopter could take off.
“The bodies were in pieces,” said Sita Adhikari, another official from the region. A local witness, Nima Tshering Sherpa, said the helicopter crashed into a bushy hillside.
The mountainous country has a history of plane crashes, andbecause many airlines fly to small airports on remote hills and near peaks, often shrouded in clouds and cut off from roads. Nepal’s worst plane crash in 30 years killed 71 people in January when a plane crashed near the resort town of Pokhara.
With information from Reuters | dm