Nepal forms high-level panel over helicopter crash

Kathmandu,  (IANS) The Nepal government on Wednesday formed a high-level panel to launch investigation into a private helicopter crash in Balephi of quake-hit Sindhupalchowk district, killing four people including a Dutch national.

The helicopter 9N-AJP was on a relief mission when it crashed in a forested area after hitting a power line on Tuesday afternoon at around 4:30 p.m.

Nepal’s ministry of tourism and civil aviation said in a statement on Wednesday that it formed the three-member panel under the leadership of Joint Secretary Buddhisagar Lamichhane, Xinhua reported.

“The panel is mandated to find out reasons behind the incident and submit an investigation report to the Nepal government within 60 days,” ministry spokesperson Mohan Krishna Sapkota said.

Captain Subek Shrestha, Sandeep Mahat, Sher Bahadur Karki and a Dutch woman Jessica Wilford were killed in the helicopter crash when returning to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu after dispatching the relief materials to the quake-hit area.

It was the second helicopter crash after a devastating 7.9- magnitude earthquake that struck the Himalayan nation on April 25, killing more than 8,600 people.

On May 15, a US military helicopter UN-1Y “Huey” crashed in the mountain of the same district killing two Nepalese soldiers and six US Marines.

UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal Jamie McGoldrick has expressed deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the incident in Sindhupalchowk district on Tuesday.

“It is a significant loss to relief efforts accessing the more remote areas at such a critical time prior to the monsoon rains. Yesterday’s tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the many Nepali women and men and international humanitarian actors who are selfless in their daily efforts to deliver much needed aid to communities,” the UN Resident Coordinator said in a press release.

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