A small passenger plane crashed into a parked helicopter during takeoff at the only airport in Nepal’s Everest region Sunday, killing at least three people and injuring four others, officials said.
The crash occurred while the plane, a Twin Otter belonging to Summit Air, was trying to take off from Lukla for Kathmandu Sunday morning, said aviation official Raj Kumar Chhetri. He said the plane skidded off the runaway, hitting the helicopter of Manang Air.
Both are private airline companies that cater to tourists and Nepalese in the country’s remote areas.
The injured were airlifted to Kathmandu by helicopter, Nepal police spokesman Uttam Raj Subedi said. He said that police teams reached the scene of the crash and were coordinating efforts to avoid fire at the airport.
The dead included a pilot of the plane and two police officers who were near the parked helicopter.
A civil administrator, Narendra Kumar Rama, said the four passengers and a flight attendant on the plane were safe.
Following the crash, authorities suspended services at Tenzing Hillary Airport at Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest.
The airport is often referred to as the world’s most dangerous because of the short runway and difficult approach. It’s open only to helicopters and small fixed-wing aircraft. It sits at an elevation of 9,334 feet (2,845 meters).