Kathmandu: At least three people were killed when a Summit Air plane slipped off the runway during takeoff and crashed into two stationary choppers while taking off from Tenjing-Hillary Airport in Solukhumbu district in Nepal’s Everest region on Sunday morning, police said.
Three people were also injured in the incident.
“The aircraft of Summit Air bearing call-sign 9N AMH slipped off the runway in Tenjing-Hillary Airport, Lukla- Pasanglamhu Village Council-2 during takeoff and hit stationary chopper of Manang Air with call-sign 9N ALC killed 3 on Sunday morning,” Nepal Police said in a statement.
Those who were killed included Sudip Dhungana, the co-pilot of Summit Air along with Ram Bahadur Khadka , assistant sub-inspector of Tourist Police and Rudra Bahadur Shrestha sub-inspector of Nepal Police.
While Dhungana and Khadka died on the spot, Shrestha breathed his last while undergoing treatment at Grandee Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal Police said.
“The others who were injured comprised of Summit Air’s pilot Rabinath Rokaya (49), Manang Air’s Helicopters Pilot Captain Chetbahadur Gurung and Manang Air’s staff Lakpa Sherpa. All of them are undergoing treatment at Grandee Hospital in Kathmandu,” the statement added.
Preliminary investigation report of the plane crash said that Summit Airplane, without any passenger on board, was en route to Ramechhap district.
The airplane slipped off the runway and hit the other parked aircraft at the airport, the report added.
Both the aircraft and a chopper are completely damaged, while another chopper (9N-ALK) belonging to Shree Airlines is partially damaged, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said in the statement.
The bodies, in the third aviation accident that happened within less than eight months, have been brought to Kathmandu.
Tenjing-Hillary Airport also knows as the Lukla airport is considered to be one of the most dangerous airports in the world as it remains busy and witnesses a high flow of tourists and aircraft movement especially during the ongoing mountaineering season in Nepal.