Nepal Army to use helicopter to rescue stranded touristsNovember 6th, 2011 - 12:00 am ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, Nov 5 (IANS) Nepal Army agreed Saturday to use its MI-17 helicopter to rescue stranded foreign tourists in northeastern Nepal.
More than 100 flights have been cancelled due to bad weather in the Himalayas region since Tuesday, leaving around 2,000 tourists stranded at Lukla airport, most of them coming from the US and Europe, reported Xinhua.
The small airport located at an altitude of 2,860 meters is the gateway for tourists visiting Mount Everest.
The Nepal Tourism Board appealed the army to help rescue the tourists.
The army helicopter with 18 seats will leave for Lukla after the weather condition improves. It will rescue the patients and the tourists who have to arrive in Kathmandu to catch their international flights in first priority, said Anjan Kumar Thapa, treasurer of the Trekking Association of Nepal.
In January 2008, the airport was renamed in honour of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, the first persons to reach the summit of Everest. The surrounding terrain, thin air, highly changeable weather and the airport’s short, sloping runway make it one of the most challenging landing strips in the world.
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Tags: altitude, army helicopter, bad weather, changeable weather, first priority, honour, international flights, landing strips, mount everest, nepal tourism board, nov 5, sir edmund hillary, summit, tenzing norgay, thin air, tourists, trekking, weather condition, weather in the himalayas, xinhua