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Nepal mourns victims of heli crash that killed tourism minister

Feb 28 2019 | 04:12 pm

Kathmandu: Nepali government and people have been mourning the victims of Wednesday helicopter crash, which raised concerns over the country’s civil aviation security and the safety of passengers.

On Wednesday, all seven passengers on board were killed including Nepal’s Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Rabindra Adhikari in a helicopter crash in eastern Nepal’s Taplejung district.

Prime Minister K.P Sharma Oli presided over an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday, deciding to honor Adhikari with state funeral, according to Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa.

The government observed national day of mourning on Thursday for chopper crash victims and the government decided to fly the national flags at half mast in the government offices and Nepali diplomatic missions abroad on Friday.

The bodies of six deaths will be brought to Nepal’s Capital Kathmandu Friday and will be handed over to their families, according to authorities.

“Today, the tourism industry has faced a huge loss as it lost a young and energetic leader who had both vision and willingness to bring improvements in this industry. This is really sad news for us,” tourism entrepreneur CN Pandey said on Wednesday while expressing sorrow over the demise of the tourism minister in the chopper crash.

He said the poor weather is often one of the major reasons behind the plane crashes in Nepal. “Wednesday’s incident might have happened due to the same reason.”

Pandey, who is also the Chairperson of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA), said the government should enforce regulatory measures to prevent such incidents in future.

“I think the government should regulate the flights by enforcing some measures to prevent such incidents in future,” he said.

This was the latest incident of plane crash in the Himalayan nation. Officials at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) blamed bad weather and difficult terrain behind the chopper crash.

On Sept. 8, 2018, at least six people were killed while one woman survived after a helicopter of Altitude Air crashed in the dense forest in central Nepal.

On March 12, 2018, the US-Bangla Airlines flight crashed at Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport, the only international airport of the country, leaving nearly 50 people dead and two dozens injured, marking one of the deadliest air crashes in Nepal in the past decades.

Experts said the lack of sufficient resources and facilities, problematic geographical locations and bad weather are the main causes for plane crashes.

Since 1949, when the first aircraft landed in Nepal, there have been over 100 different crashes involving both airplanes and helicopters, according to officials.

Panipokhari

Kathmandu, Nepal

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