Locals concerned as zinc sheets fall from flying helicopter

Solukhumbu, February 28

Local people here have been concerned after zinc sheets fell from a flying helicopter. They are in fear and rage after about six kilograms of corrugated zinc sheets fell from a chopper belonging to Kailash Air in Lungding forest area in Solududhkunda Municipality last week.

Kumar Bishwokarma, a local of Taksindu, expressed anger over the incident, saying, “The bodies concerned have not paid attention to security although things are found to be dropping from flying helicopters time and again.”

Another local, Tendi Sherpa said they had frequently urged the authority concerned to ensure safe transport of goods on choppers, but to no avail. He said the regulatory body should take responsibility in case of loss of life or property due to such sheer negligence.

Choppers transport construction materials and other items of daily necessities from Tansindu hill to Khumbu region. According to locals, construction materials, including timber, are airlifted to Khumbu, often dangling from choppers. The Nepal Civil Aviation Act-2016 states that no passenger, goods and postal matter should be allowed in the prohibited zone at the airport or be transported by aircraft without authorised airport employees or security personnel conducting a security check.

Solududhkunda Municipality Mayor Namgel Jangbu Sherpa said aircraft flight and landing was not under their jurisdiction. Khumbu Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality Spokesperson Lakpa Chhiri Sherpa said they had no other alternative to transporting construction materials via choppers as their rural municipality lacked access to roads. He said the helicopter operating company concerned should pay attention to safety aspect while ferrying the goods.

“A three-member investigation team has been formed with pilot Gunjaman Lama as coordinator to look into the ‘zinc sheet’ case. The team carried out on site inspection at Taksindu on Sunday,” said Imanath Adhikari, chief of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal in Lukla. Solukhumbu Police Chief DSP Iwa Limbu said their security committee had discussed the incident and would take appropriate decision.

Attempts to contact Manager of Kailash Air Pratap Jung Kunwar on this matter could not materialise as he could not be reached by phone.