Helicopter carrying ‘foreign tourists’ crashes near Mount Everest, killing at least five people 

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At least five dead in Mount Everest tourist helicopter crash: Mexican family of five including relatives aged 95 and 98 among victims

  • Rescuers had recovered the bodies of five people and wear searching for a sixth 
  • The tourists were believed to be Mexican nationals while the pilot was Nepalese 

At least five people have been killed after a helicopter carrying foreign tourists crashed Tuesday near Mount Everest in Nepal – with one other person on the aircraft still missing.

The helicopter crashed in the Lamajura area and rescuers had recovered the bodies of five people and were searching for the sixth, said Basanta Bhattarai, the chief government administrator in the area.

The aircraft was on a sightseeing tour to the world’s highest peak before they started making their return towards the capital Kathmandu on Tuesday morning. 

The tourists were believed to be Mexican nationals, and reportedly all from the same family, while the pilot was Nepalese. Authorities said two of the tourists were aged 98 and 95.

Airport official Sagar Kadel said weather conditions had caused changes to be made to the Manang Air helicopter’s planned flight route.

At least five people were killed after a helicopter carrying foreign tourists crashed Tuesday near Mount Everest (pictured) in Nepal

At least five people were killed after a helicopter carrying foreign tourists crashed Tuesday near Mount Everest (pictured) in Nepal

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

Initially, the helicopter was believed to be missing before officials discovered the wreckage around the Lamjura Pass of Solukhumbu district.

Police said they believe the accident happened at around 3,500 meters (almost 2.2 miles) above sea level.

‘Five bodies have been recovered from the accident site and search operation is underway,’ officials told The Himalayan Times.

The publication identified the pilot as Captain Chet B Gurung. It also reported that all five passengers were members of the same family: Sifuentes G. Fernando, aged 95; Sifuentes Rincon Ismail, 98; Sifuentes Gongalez Abril, 72; Gongalez Olacio Luz, 65; and Sifuentes G. Maria Jese, 52.

The aircraft, identified by its call sign 9NA-MV, was en route to Kathmandu and expected to arrive by 10.05am local time.

But by 10.13am, the helicopter had lost all communication with ground control and was flying at altitudes over 12,000ft (3,650 metres).

The aircraft was on a sightseeing tour to the world's highest peak before they started making their return towards the capital Kathmandu on Tuesday morning

The aircraft was on a sightseeing tour to the world’s highest peak before they started making their return towards the capital Kathmandu on Tuesday morning

A specialised altitude helicopter carrying security personnel was dispatched towards a potential crash site using the known GPS coordinates of the aircraft.

Rescue workers are now providing assistance and aid to the ongoing rescue effort in the race against the clock to find the last possible survivor. 

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

This is a developing news story. More to follow… 



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