Three killed as small plane crashes near Mount Everest
A small passenger plane has crashed into a parked helicopter during takeoff near Mount Everest, killing at least three people and injuring four others.
The crash occurred while the plane, a Twin Otter belonging to Summit Air, was trying to take off from Lukla for Kathmandu in Nepal, aviation officials said.
The plane skidded off the runaway, hitting the Manang Air helicopter.
Both are private airline companies that cater to tourists and Nepalese in the country's remote areas.
The injured were airlifted to Kathmandu by helicopter. The dead included a pilot of the plane and two police officers who were near the parked helicopter.
The four passengers and a flight attendant on the plane were safe, officials said.
Following the crash, authorities suspended services at Tenzing Hillary Airport at Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest.
The airport is often referred to as the world's most dangerous because of the short runway and difficult approach.
It is open only to helicopters and small fixed-wing aircraft. It sits at an elevation of 9,334 feet.
In May 2017, a cargo flight was landing in Lukla when it lost altitude and crashed into a mountain below the runway, killing both pilots. Poor visibility was blamed for the accident.
In February, a helicopter flying in bad weather crashed into a mountain in north-eastern Nepal, killing all seven people on board, including the country's tourism minister.