Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari and six others died in a helicopter crash in eastern Nepal on Wednesday afternoon.
The ill-fated chopper of Air Dynasty crashed in a hill near Pathibhara Temple in Taplejung district, according to Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). Bad weather is being seen as the cause behind the deadly accident.
Other passengers on board the helicopter were Mr Yubaraj Dahal, personal aide to the Prime Minister of Nepal, Birendra Prasad Shrestha, deputy director general of CAAN, Dhruba Bhochhibhaya, an engineer of CAAN; Ang Tshering Sherpa, managing director of Yeti Airlines and director of Thamserku Trekking; Mr Arjun Ghimire, PSO of the tourism minister, and Pilot Prabhakar KC.
The team was returning to Kathmandu after scouting a possible location for building a STOL airfield in Terathum district.
Minister Adhikari was a young and dynamic leader. The tourism industry had high hopes from Minister Adhikari as the country is preparing to celebrate Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign. Similarly, Sherpa was a successful tourism entrepreneur having businesses in travel, hospitality and aviation sector. Shrestha and Bhochhibhaya were senior officers of CAAN – the aviation regulator.
According to security agencies, only the body of Minister Adhikari and his PSO Adhikari are recognizable. Other bodies are charred. Helicopters have reached the crash site to bring the bodies back.