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Helicopter crashes in quake-hit Nepal; foreigner among 4 killed

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Kathmandu: At least four persons, including a foreigner, were killed today when their helicopter crashed while returning after distributing relief materials to earthquake victims in Nepal’s mountainous region.

Police said the chopper of Kathmandu-based Mountain Helicopters, which was returning from Dolakha, came down at Shila Parbat forest area in Sindhupalchok district, which borders Tibet.

Bodies of three Nepalese and a foreigner were recovered by a soldier from Gorakh Bahadur Battalion who reached the crash site, a senior army official said.

The victims including the pilot were returning after distributing relief materials.

The identity of the foreigner was not immediately known.

The chopper, said to be flying at low altitude, met with the accident after crashing into a high tension electric line, eyewitnesses said.

“There were four people including Captain Subek Shrestha onboard the red coloured 9N-AJP chopper belonging to Mountain Air,” Mountain Air Manager Basanta Bhandari was quoted as saying by ekantipur.

According to Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) acting General Manager Birendra Prasad Shrestha, the helicopter had left for Dolakha from Kathmandu with relief materials. It crashed while it was returning from there.

TIA Air Traffic Controller chief Bharat Sharma informed that another helicopter has been dispatched to the site for search and rescue operations.

On May 12, a US military helicopter engaged in quake- relief operations had come down in Nepal, killing six US Marines and two Nepalese soldiers.

Several relief teams from across the globe have been working to provide water, food, shelter and medical assistance to the Himalayan nation since a powerful 7.8-magnitude quake struck on April 25. Another temblor hit the nation on May 12.

More than 8,600 people have been killed and over half a million houses have been destroyed, leaving a large number of people without shelter ahead of the approaching monsoon season.

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