KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — All six people on board a helicopter carrying Mexican tourists were killed when it crashed Tuesday near Mount Everest in Nepal, authorities said.
The helicopter crashed in the Lamajura area and all the bodies were recovered, said Basanta Bhattarai, the chief government administrator in the area.
The five tourists were Mexican nationals and the pilot was Nepalese, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal said in a statement. The Mexicans included two men and three women.
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Federico Salas, Mexico’s ambassador to India, told N+, part of Mexico’s Televisa network, that the five Mexican victims were part of the same family.
Mexico’s National Cancer Institute said via Twitter that one of those killed was Dr. Abril Sifuentes González, a resident in internal medicine there. A week earlier, Sifuentes posted a photo of herself standing in front of India’s Taj Mahal on Instagram.
Two rescue helicopters were used to fly the bodies out of the crash site and then to the capital, Kathmandu. Doctors were expected to perform an autopsy before the bodies were handed over to relatives, or in the case of foreigners, to embassy officials.
The aircraft was returning to Kathmandu on Tuesday morning after bringing the tourists on a sightseeing trip to the world’s highest peak.
It wasn’t clear what caused the crash. Weather conditions had caused the helicopter’s planned flight route to be changed, airport official Sagar Kadel said.
It is common for flights to be delayed and routes changed during the monsoon season and heavy rains.
The tourist and mountaineering season ended in May with the onset of the rainy season and tourist flights to the mountains are less common this time of year as visibility is poor and weather conditions become unpredictable.