Three killed in aircraft runway accident near Everest

The plane slipped towards the helipad and crashed into two helicopters. (AFP)
Updated 14 April 2019

Three killed in aircraft runway accident near Everest

  • The collision happened in Lukla airport
  • It killed one co-pilot and two police officers

KATMANDU, Nepal: A small plane veered off the runway and hit two helicopters while taking off near Mount Everest on Sunday, killing three people and injuring three, officials said.
The accident happened at Lukla airport which is the main gateway to the Everest region and is reputed to be one of the most difficult in the world for landings and take-offs.
A co-pilot from the Let-410 run by Summit Air bound for Katmandu and a police officer on the ground were killed on the spot, Lukla airport official Ema Nath Adhikari told AFP.
Another policeman died in hospital in Katmandu, a police spokesman confirmed.
“The plane slipped toward the helipad during take-off and collided with two helicopters. The injured have been sent to Katmandu for treatment,” Adhikari said.
“We are not sure about the cause of the accident.”
Lukla airport is used by thousands of trekkers and climbers heading for the Everest region each year.
It is particularly busy in April as the spring mountain climbing season begins.
Nepal’s aviation industry has boomed in recent years, flying tourists and goods to remote corners of the Himalayan nation where road access is limited.
But the impoverished country has a poor air safety record due to weak training and maintenance. The European Union has banned all Nepalese airlines from its airspace over safety concerns.
Seven people, including the country’s tourism minister, were killed in February when a helicopter crashed in the hilly east.


UK pledges £20m aid for Beirut blast recovery

The blast in Beirut hit a grain silo in the port, exasperating Lebanon's already rising food insecurity. (File/Reuters)
Updated 09 August 2020

UK pledges £20m aid for Beirut blast recovery

  • World leaders have joined a virtual summit to coordinate an effective humanitarian response to the Beirut blast.
  • French President promises aid will not go to "corrupt hands"

LONDON: The UK has pledged an additional £20 million ($26.09 million) in humanitarian aid to Lebanon in response to last week’s massive explosion in Beirut.

International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the money would go to the UN’s World Food Programme to help Lebanon’s most vulnerable.

The figure was promised at a virtual summit held Sunday that was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron. World leaders met virtually to formulate a global response to the devastating explosion and ensuing humanitarian and economic crisis.

Trevelyan said: “The devastation we have seen in Lebanon this week has left people without homes, medical care and wondering how long it will be until the country’s food supplies run out. Today the world is coming together to stand by the Lebanese people, and as one of the biggest donors to this crisis so far, the UK is pledging more urgent support to help all those affected by this terrible disaster.”

The UK has already provided £5 million in assistance and paid for specialist medics to respond to health needs on the ground. It will also send a Royal Navy vessel to assist the recovery.

Other European countries have also promised to send humanitarian aid. Germany has pledged 10 million euros ($11.78 million) and the European Union has promised 30 million euros.

Despite the sizable donations, the price tag for rebuilding Beirut is likely to cost billions of dollars.

There is also widespread distrust among the Lebanese population about the government’s ability to effectively coordinate the blast response and to manage the huge influx of cash.

Macron, addressing this concern on his recent trip to Beirut, said: “I guarantee you, this (reconstruction) aid will not go to corrupt hands.”