2 killed, 5 injured in Nepal plane crash near Mount Everest

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Three people were killed and four injured yesterday when a light aircraft skidded off the runway at a small airport near Mount Everest and struck a helicopter.

The accident happened at Lukla Airport, the main gateway to the Everest region. "Another police officer died in a hospital in Kathmandu".

An aviation official says the crash occurred while the plane belonging to Summit Air was trying to take off from Lukla for Kathmandu Sunday morning. The Summir Air plane was reportedly en route to Kathmandu from Lukla.

The plane's pilot, the helicopter's pilot and an airport worker were among the injured. They are undergoing treatment at Grande International Hospital.

The aircraft had hit the helicopters of Manang Air and Shree Air.

Lukla Airport is used by thousands of trekkers and climbers heading to the Everest region each year.

Senior government official Narendra Rana, who was involved in the rescue operations, told Xinhua that the four passengers and a flight attendant on the plane were safe.

Airstrips in Nepal are traditionally considered to be one of the most risky, even for experienced pilots due to the surrounding mountains. It's open only to helicopters and small fixed-wing aircraft. In February, a helicopter carrying seven people including the country's tourism minister crashed in bad weather in eastern Nepal, killing seven all on board. The European Union has banned all Nepalese airlines from its airspace over safety concerns.

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