Kathmandu, Feb 27 (IANS) Nepal’s Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari and six others died in a helicopter crash in the country’s Taplejung district on Wednesday, officials said.
The Tribhuvan International Airport said the helicopter owned by Air Dynasty crashed in Pathibhara area of the district around 1.30 p.m., the Kathmandu Post reported.
The deceased were identified as Adhikari, his bodyguard Arjun Ghimire, helicopter captain Prabhakar KC, Under Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office Yubaraj Dahal, tourism entrepreneur Ang Tshiring Sherpa, Deputy Director General of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) Birendra Shrestha and CAAN engineer Dhruba Das Bhochhibhaya.
According to reports, the crash occurred when Adhikari and others were returning to Kathmandu after offering prayers at Pathibhara Temple in the Taplejung district.
Government officials said they visited the temple after conducting a feasibility study for an airstrip in Chuhandanda in the Tehrathum district.
An eyewitness told Kantipur daily the helicopter crashed soon after it took off from the Pathibhara Temple. Another eyewitness told the Post the chopper hit a cliff and burst into flames.
Two rescue teams, including Army personnel, have been deployed to retrieve bodies.
Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli convened an emergency meeting of the cabinet following the incident.