All six people aboard a tourist helicopter in Nepal were killed when it crashed soon after take-off near Mount Everest on Tuesday, aviation authorities said.
The Manang Air chopper was heading for the capital Kathmandu from near Lukla, the gateway for climbing expeditions to the world's highest peak, but lost contact about 10 minutes after taking off at 10:04 am (0419 GMT).
“Six bodies have been found at the crash site,” Gyanendra Bhul of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal told AFP. Five Mexican nationals and a Nepali pilot were aboard the chopper.
The helicopter was operated by Manang Air, airport official Teknath Sitoula told Reuters.
Nepal is notorious for its poor aviation safety, and the latest incident comes almost six months after a plane crash in western Nepal which killed all 72 people on board. The Himalayan country has some of the world’s most remote and tricky runways, flanked by snow-capped peaks with approaches that pose a challenge even for accomplished pilots.
The weather can also change quickly in the mountains, creating treacherous flying conditions.
In addition, Nepal’s aviation sector has been plagued by poor safety due to insufficient training and maintenance. The European Union has banned all Nepali carriers from its airspace over safety concerns.