Around 10:30 a.m. local time in Nepal, the five Mexican tourists and the pilot of the Manang Air helicopter that was taking them back to the capital Kathmandu after completing a tour of Everest, considered the highest mountain in the world with its almost 9,000 meters of altitude, were reported missing.
Hours later, Nepalese authorities reported that they recovered the bodies of the Mexican tourists and the pilot who died in the plane crash. According to Reuters, the civil aviation regulator indicated that the cause of the collision near Mount Everest is unknown and added that the government would establish a committee to investigate.
What was the helicopter crash in Nepal like?
Basanta Bhattarai, the senior bureaucrat in Solukhumbu district, where the crash occurred, who confirmed the recovery of the six bodies of the helicopter crew, said: “We have already sent four bodies to Kathmandu in a helicopter and are preparing to send the remaining two soon,” Bhattarai said from the crash site.
He added that rescuers 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 regional official.
A local witness, Nima Tshering Sherpa, said the helicopter crashed into a bush-filled hillside. An airport official, Teknath Sitoula, also confirmed that a Nepalese pilot and five Mexican nationals were on board.
For his part, Raju Neupane, spokesman for the Manang Air company, assured that “the helicopter took off…. in good weather,” adding: “The weather was not bad. Now we cannot say what caused the accident. We will have to investigate.
The helicopter lost communication eight minutes after takeoff
The helicopter lost contact eight minutes after launch, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said in a statement quoted by AFP news agency. Two helicopters and several ground teams were deployed for a search and rescue mission but could not land near the crash site due to weather.
“Ground teams carried the bodies to helicopters that were able to land nearby,” said Pratap Babu Tiwari, director of Tribhuvan International Airport.
The five Mexican passengers on the crashed helicopter were identified as:
- Fernando Sifuentes.
- Abric Gonzalez.
- Luz Gonzalez Olacio.
- Maria Jose Sifuentes.
- Ismael Rincón.
The mountainous country has a history of plane crashes, as many airlines fly into small airports on remote hills and near peaks, often shrouded in clouds and isolated from roads.
In January, Nepal’s worst plane crash in 30 years killed 71 people when a plane crashed near the resort town of Pokhara—information from Gopal Sharma.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the nationality of the Mexicans. It indicated that it is in constant communication with the Office of the Honorary Consul of Mexico in Nepal to carry out the corresponding consular assistance and protection actions.