Four dead in helicopter crash in quake-hit Nepal

2nd June 2015, Comments 0 comments

Four people, including three staff from medical charity MSF, died Tuesday when a helicopter crashed that had been delivering aid to an earthquake-devastated region in Nepal, security forces and the aircraft operator said.

The aircraft was carrying four people, including the pilot and three workers from Doctors Without Borders, known by its French initials MSF, when it came down in a forested area north of the capital, police and company officials said.

"The helicopter crashed at 4:30 pm (1045 GMT) in Sindhupalchowk district after it hit electricity lines, according to villagers there," said local police official Dipak Kharel.

"Our troops have reached the site and found four bodies," Major-General Binoj Basnyat confirmed to AFP.

Weeping relatives gathered at the airport in Kathmandu to receive the bodies of their loved ones as they were airlifted in by private companies.

Basanta K. Bhandari, assistant manager of operations at Kathmandu-based Mountain Helicopters, which owned the aircraft, told AFP that three of the victims worked for MSF, including one from the Netherlands.

"The victims include the pilot as well as two Nepalis and a Dutch woman. All three worked for MSF," Bhandari said.

The medical charity confirmed it had chartered the helicopter in a statement emailed to AFP.

"We are currently working to confirm the identities of the victims of the crash," the statement said.

Relief teams from around the world have been working to provide water, food, shelter and medical assistance to Nepal since a 7.8-magnitude quake struck on April 25.

On May 12 a second major earthquake hit the country, the same day that a UH-1Y Huey helicopter came down on an aid mission in the north of the country. Six US Marines and two Nepalese soldiers were killed.

More than 8,600 people died in the quakes, which destroyed more than half a million homes and left huge numbers of people without shelter just weeks ahead of the monsoon rains.


© 2015 AFP

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