Seven killed in UN chopper crash in Nepal

March 3rd, 2008 - 8:24 pm ICT by admin  

Kathmandu, March 3 (IANS) At least seven people, mostly UN personnel, were killed as the helicopter ferrying them from a Maoist guerrilla camp crashed in a remote area in eastern Nepal Monday afternoon, Nepal’s official media said. Kieran Dwyer, spokesman at the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) that is assisting in the managing the Maoists People’s Liberation Army’s arms and combatants told IANS that an UNMIN chopper was involved in the crash.

“The heliocopter was returning to Kathmandu from the Maoist cantonment in Sindhuli in the east,” Dwyer said.

However, his office had no details immediately as no UNMIN personnel were present in the area where the crash had occurred.

Police reports from Bethan village in Ramechhap district, once a Maoist stronghold, said around 4.30 pm the chopper crashed after catching fire.

Local residents and police personnel rushed to the site to rescue the passengers and were able to bring out seven bodies.

However, the bodies had not been identified till late evening.

The accident is reminiscent of another that occurred in eastern Nepal in 2006 killing all 24 people abroad, including the pilots, a Nepali minister and senior officials of the World Wildlife Foundation.

The UNMIN was given a six-month extension in January to observe the election that was postponed to April 10.

UNMIN is headed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s special representative Ian Martin.

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