Taplejung Helicopter Crash: Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari and six others dead

Kathmandu, February 27

An Air Dynasty(AS350) helicopter with Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation and NCP leader Rabindra Adhikari and six other passengers on board has crashed in Taplejung.

Minister Adhikari is reported to have been flying to Chuhan Dada airstrip after visiting the Pathibhara temple. Adhikari was expected to inspect the airstrip.

“We have news that the helicopter crashed somewhere between Pathibhara and Chuhan Dada. We are awaiting more information,” said Home Ministry Secretary Prem Kumar Rai.

Details to follow

The helicopter was en route to Chuhan Danda

Update 14:42 

Officials are assuming that the crash might have taken place at Dhare Dhunga in Fungling Municipality. Taplejung CDO, Arjun Bhandari, confirmed that no contact was made with the helicopter. Bhandari said he was on his way to Dhare Dhunga which was three hours away from district headquarters.

He also added that police were on their way to the crash site.

Update 14:58 

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has called an emergency meeting of the cabinet. He did so after hearing the news of the crash.

Update 15:06

Principal at Jana Kalyan Basic School, Mahesh Niraula says he saw the helicopter crash with this own eyes. According to him his students around 1 PM pointed out that a helicopter had caught fire. “Looks like it is still burning. The helicopter is at a slope so it’s quite hard to send people,” Niraula told Online Khabar.

Update 15:15

Police have recovered five bodies from the crash site near Khapte Dhunga of erstwhile Mayum VDC. The bodies are yet to be identified.

Update 15:32

General Secretary of NCP, Bishnu Paudel has confirmed that all seven, including Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari on board the helicopter, have died.

Update 15:50

Minister Adhikari was flying with tourism entrepreneur Ang Tsering Sherpa, PMO under-secretary Yubaraj Dahal, officials from CAAN Birendra Shrestha and Dhurva Bhochhibhya, security personnel Arjun Ghimire and pilot Prabhakar KC.

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