Nepal suspends services of private chopper firm after death of Indian pilgrim

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Kathmandu:

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has temporarily suspended the flight operations of a private helicopter firm after an Indian Kailash Mansarovar pilgrim died when he was hit by the rear blade of its helicopter at a remote helipad in country’s Hilsa region.

Manang Air was licensed to operate commercially by the state aviation regulator after it obtained the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said.

The AOC is a formal certification by the state that the operator is fully-qualified to meet the safety objectives in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s stipulations at the minimum.

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According to the official, a technical team from the CAAN has already returned from Humla after collecting ground evidences.

Manang Air has been licensed to operate two seven-seater airbus helicopters.

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has also formed a four-member committee led by Joint-Secretary Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane to probe the accident, according to ministry’s spokesperson Ghanashyam Upadhyaya.

The other members of the committee include senior captain Dawa Jangbu Sherpa, senior engineer Bharat Parajuli and engineer Yogesh Aryal.

Kartik Nagendra Kumar Mehta, 42, a resident of Mumbai, died when he rushed to board the helicopter and accidently hit its tail rotor. He was beheaded with the tail rotor of the Manang Air helicopter.

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The committee has been given 30 days to submit its report. It will also check whether the operator complied with the Flight Operations Requirements-Helicopters (FOR-H), the technical regulations for helicopter operations, while conducting flights.

The FOR-H clearly states that the issuance and continuation of the AOC is dependent upon the operator demonstrating an adequate organisation, method of control and supervision of flight operations, training programme as well as ground-handling and maintenance arrangements consistent with the nature and extent of the operations specified.

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