Nepal | December 06, 2019

Govt forms panel to probe Altitude Air chopper crash

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, September 9

The government today formed a four-member commission to investigate the cause of yesterday’s Altitude Air helicopter crash in Nuwakot district in which six of the seven people, including a Japanese tourist, on board, were killed.

The commission, led by Joint Secretary Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane at the Aviation Safety Division of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, has been assigned to investigate into the accident and submit its report as early as possible.

The commission includes Simrik Air’s senior captain Sidhhartha Jung Gurung and senior engineer Meghendra Kumar Shrestha of Summit Air as members.

The first meeting of the commission will appoint member-secretary of the panel, according to Lamichhane.

Six people on board the ill-fated helicopter, piloted by senior captain Nischal KC, lost their life in the crash in the dense forest area at Meghang Rural Municipality of Nuwakot district.

Though it was not clear what caused the Airbus-manufactured Ecureuil chopper to crash, TIA officials suspect a technical glitch followed by bad weather could have led the chopper to lose contact with the air traffic controller.

The helicopter was returning to Kathmandu from Samagaun of Gorkha district ferrying a local patient and other passengers.

Lho Aani Dolma Diki of Gorkha who received multiple injuries to her spine, ribs and hips was rescued alive. She is undergoing treatment at Medicity Hospital in Kathmandu.

Nima Nuru Sherpa, managing director at Altitude Air Pvt Ltd, said all bodies of the deceased had been airlifted to Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu for post-mortem this morning.

With the help of locals, rescuers brought all the bodies to Bidur of Nuwakot after retrieving them last night, he said, adding that four helicopters were used to airlift bodies from Bidur to Kathmandu.

Family members will receive the bodies after post-mortem, he said.

Those killed in the crash have been identified as senior captain Nischal KC, Dilli Bahadur Gurung of Ramechhap, Chhiri Sherpa of Dolakha, Chewang Nurbu of Gorkha, Sunil Tamang of Sindhupalchowk and Japanese national Hiromi Komatsu.

Issuing a statement today, Altitude Air Pvt Ltd expressed grief over the fatal crash. The company also thanked all stakeholders, including the government agencies, airliners and others for their timely support in search and rescue efforts.

A version of this article appears in print on September 10, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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