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A helicopter belonging to Air Dynasty (photo: Air Dynasty)

Helicopter crash kills Nepal’s tourism minister

Rabindra Adhikari was among seven people killed after visiting a remote hilltop temple in the east of the country.

Nepal’s tourism minister, Rabindra Adhikari, was among seven people killed in a helicopter crash in the east of the country. Nepal is infamous for its poor aviation safety record.

The minister and other officials had visited the Pathibhara Devi Temple, one of the country’s most important hilltop temples, after flying to Panchthar to see an airport under construction at the Himalayan community of Chuhan Danda.

Others reported to be on board the helicopter were tourism entrepreneur Ang Chhiring Sherpa, a close aide prime minister, Yubaraj Dahal, deputy director general of Nepal’s civil aviation authority Birendra Shrestha, an engineer, a security guard and the pilot.

All seven were killed in the crash about 240 kilometres from the capital Kathmandu. The crash occurred near the Pathibhara Devi Temple after the team’s visit, and local residents reported seeing a huge fireball as the helicopter hit the ground.

The dead bodies of the victims were identified at the crash site, a spokesperson for the interior ministry later confirmed.

Crash record
The helicopter was operated by private company Air Dynasty, which caters for tourists and locals in the country’s remote areas, the Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera reports.

Other recent accidents that have plagued Nepal include a helicopter crash in a forest in September 2018 that killed six people, a Malaysian aircraft skidding off a runway with 139 people on board last April and a US-Bangla Airlines plane crash last March killing 51 people.

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