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UN helicopter crash kills 10 in Nepal

Latest update : 2008-03-03

At least 10 people were killed when a helicopter carrying United Nations officials crashed in bad weather over hilly terrain near Nepal's capital on Monday, police and airport officials said.

A United Nations helicopter crashed in Nepal on Monday, killing at least 10 people, officials said.
  
"We lost radio contact with a UN helicopter Monday while it was returning from Ramechhap in east Nepal," Mohan Prasad Adhikari, a senior official from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport, told AFP.
  
Police from remote Ramechhap district, located 85 kilometres (50 miles) east of Kathmandu, said 10 people were killed when the chopper caught fire and crashed in heavy rain and wind.
  
"We have recovered the bodies of 10 people, and we found no survivors," Khinu Prasad Acharya, a senior local police officer told AFP.
  
A team of 12 police officers had reached the site, but their recovery work was hampered by the weather conditions and hilly terrain, said Pushpa Shrestha, another local police officer from the hilly district.
  
"Locals said they saw fire on the helicopter before it crashed into a steep sloping hill," Shrestha said.
  
The helicopter burned for around three hours before locals and police officers doused the flames, the officer said.
  
A UN spokesman confirmed that the world body had lost radio contact with one of its helicopters returning from a visit to a Maoist camp in east Nepal.
  
"We are seeking further information," Kieran Dwyer, a spokesman for the UN Mission in Nepal, told AFP.
  
The UN was invited to assist in monitoring a landmark peace deal reached between Nepal's former rebel Maoists and the government in November 2006.
  
The world body is keeping tabs on the former guerrillas and is also assisting with crucial polls planned for April to elect a body to decide the country's political future.
  
Nepal's mountainous terrain and lack of roads means helicopters are commonly used for transportation by government officials and development workers.
  
In late 2006, 24 people -- including senior government officials and diplomats -- died in a helicopter crash caused by adverse weather in east Nepal.

Date created : 2008-03-03

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