Three Indians detained for flying to Nepal illegally

April 20th, 2008 - 5:15 pm ICT by admin  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, April 20 (IANS) Three Indians have been detained in Nepal for flying into the Himalayan nation’s only international airport illegally. Captain V.N. Sharma and his two-member Indian crew - a co-pilot and engineer - landed at the Tribhuvan International Airport Thursday.

The Eurocopter helicopter they were flying had started from New Delhi and come to Nepal via Lucknow, where they had refuelled, and then proceeded through Simra, a Nepali town on the Indo-Nepal border.

The crew did not have permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to enter Nepal’s air space or land in Nepal.

They were detained for questioning and face the charge of violating Nepal’s sovereign airspace and posing a threat to the nation’s security.

While they have not been arrested formally, the three are staying in a hotel in the capital under surveillance and are under investigation by a security unit.

The helicopter is registered in the US.

The crew reportedly told investigators that they were working for a private company that had received permission to start flights to Nepal and had come on a reconnaissance as well as to display the model.

The Eurocopter had fuelled another controversy in Nepal earlier when a French pilot landed atop Mt Everest to claim the record for the highest landing without obtaining CAAN’s permission and posing a threat to the fragile eco-system of the mountain.

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