The Manang Air helicopter that had gone missing en route to Kathmandu is found to have crashed at Lamjure Pass in Likhupike Rural Municipality-5 of Solukhumbu district, killing all six persons on board.
The helicopter with call sign 9NA-MV had left for Kathmandu from Solukhumbu at around 10 AM Tuesday.
According to Deputy Inspector General Rajesh Nath Bastola, chief of Koshi Province Police Office, all six people aboard the helicopter were killed in the crash.
The helicopter was piloted by Captain Chet Bahadur Gurung. Five Mexican nationals – Sifuentes G Fernando, Gonzalez Abril, Gonzalez Olacio Luz, Sifuentes Gonzalez Maria Jose, and Sifuentes Rincon Ismael -- were also on board the chopper.
“Bodies of all six have been found. The body of one has been found in pieces. There are reports that the bodies are burnt,” Bastola said. “The helicopter appears to have crashed after hitting a tree.”
A team led by Assistand Sub-inspector Nirajan Basnet has reached the crash site. A police team from the District Police Office led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Deepak Shrestha and a team of Nepal Army have also left for the site.
Two helicopters of Altitude Air have been deployed to bring the bodies of the deceased to Kathmandu.
DIG Bastola said that they are preparing to send the bodies to Kathmandu as five of those are of foreign nationals.
He also said that the pilot’s body has been identified.
“The pilot has been identified. The others are foreigners,” Bastola said. “The bodies are being collected now. It may take some time as it is raining.”
The helicopter had left Surke of Solukhumbu at around 10 AM and was scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu at 10:45 AM, but it had gone missing at around 10:15 AM. Police teams had then been deployed to search for the missing aircraft.
The government has formed a committee to investigate the helicopter crash.
A Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday afternoon decided to form a probe committee headed by Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, joint secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, to investigate the incident.