Three killed in aircraft runway accident near Everest

Three killed in aircraft runway accident near Everest

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Kathmandu: A small passenger plane veered off the runway while taking off and hit two parked helicopters at Lukla airport in Nepal's Everest region on Sunday, killing a co-pilot and two policemen, officials said.

A small plane operated by local airline Summit Air went in the wrong direction during take-off and crashed into a parked helicopter, according to the Himalayan Times.

The airport, which is also known by the name of its host town, Lukla, was shut down after the incident. The injured have been sent to Kathmandu for treatment.

In addition to the three fatalities, there were four people injured and airlifted to Kathmandu by helicopter.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport is known as the gateway to Everest and is regarded the world's most unsafe because of its hard approach and short runway.

Air crashes are common in mostly mountainous Nepal, home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountain peaks, including Mount Everest.

Lukla airport is used by climbers heading for the Everest region each and every year.

Seven people, including the country's tourism minister, were killed in February when a helicopter crashed in the hilly east.

In 2008, another Twin Otter plane carrying 16 passengers and three crew crashed shortly before it was due to land at Lukla.

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