KATHMANDU: A chopper of Simrik Air met with an accident in Samdo of Samagaun village development committee (VDC) of Gorkha, while taking off on Monday morning . All five people onboard, including the captain of the chopper, are safe.

After the accident at around 10:55am, the chopper — 9N-AKF (AS350) — which was chartered by the International Medical Corps (IMC) had caught fire and was destroyed completely.

Initial investigation has revealed that a bird had hit tail rotor of the helicopter while taking-off for adjacent village of Samagaun, and the captain had been forced to make an emergency landing.

The ill-fated chopper had flown to the village carrying four passengers to attend a programme related to drinking water and sanitation. Narayan Prasad Acharya, the chief of Drinking Water and Sanitation Division in Gorkha district, was one of the four passengers. Other three passengers were from the IMC.

“It felt like the rear part of the helicopter had scraped the surface during takeoff,” Acharya told The Himalayan Times. “The captain, then, immediately force-landed it and evacuated us.”

He added that it was only after a couple of minutes that the chopper had caught fire.

A Manang Air helicopter was sent to Samdo immediately after receiving information of the incident for rescue, according to a press release issued by the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).

The four passengers and Captain Surendra Paudel were brought to Kathmandu on the Manang Air chopper. “All five underwent medical checkup at Himal Hospital in Gyaneshwor, and were sent home after it was determined they were alright,” the release states.