Altitude Air chopper crashes in Nuwakot; rescuers struggle to reach incident site

KATHMANDU: An Altitude Air helicopter which had gone missing since this morning has crash-landed in a dense forest area bordering Dhading and Nuwakot, according to eyewitnesses.

The ill-fated chopper piloted by senior captain Nishchal KC with six passengers including five Nepalis and a Japanese national on board has been traced by locals in a remote location in Nuwakot district, Nima Nuru Sherpa, Managing Director at Altitude Air Pvt Ltd quoted locals as saying.

The passengers include Hiromi Komatsu (68) from Japan, Dilli Bahadur Gurung (40) of Ramechhap, Hira Sherpa (37) of Dolakha, Sunil Tamang (22) of Sindhupalchok and Lho Ani Dolma Diki and Chhowang Sherpa of Gorkha, according to a police record from Gorkha.

The helicopter which took off for Kathmandu airlifting a patient along with other passengers from Samagaun in Gorkha lost a radio contact with Kathmandu tower after flying some 20 miles at around 8:10 am, a source at Tribhuvan International Airport said.

“Rescuers have been struggling hard to reach the incident site,” Sherpa said and added that the crashed chopper, however, had not caught fire.

Adverse weather condition and difficult terrain have been causing a delay in the rescue effort, according to him.

Nepal Army helicopter and a private chopper have been sent along with longline rescuers to the incident site.

Further details of the incident are awaited.