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Published:March 5th, 2008 04:12 EST
10 confirmed dead following helicopter crash in Nepal

10 confirmed dead following helicopter crash in Nepal

By SOP newswire

The United Nations has confirmed that seven of its staff and three crew members died when one of its helicopters crashed in eastern Nepal Monday.

The flight, which left the Maoist cantonment site at Sindhuli and was bound for the capital, Kathmandu, crashed in Ramechhap district on Monday afternoon.

In a statement released today, the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) confirmed that three Nepali UN personnel died in the crash. They are Bhim Bahadur Gurung and Rabindra Khaniya, liaison officer and language assistant with the UNMIN Arms Monitoring Office, and Rajesh Maharjan, an UNMIN vehicle mechanic.

In addition, four international arms monitors -- from Gambia, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Sweden -- died in the accident, as well as three crew members, two from Russia and one from Belarus.

Expressing his deepest condolences to the families of the deceased, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal and head of UNMIN paid tribute to his fallen colleagues.

"They died while working to sustain peace in Nepal, and UNMIN will continue in the midst of this tragedy to apply its best efforts to this purpose," said Ian Martin.

The Mission is in the process of recovering the remains of the deceased so that they can be returned to Kathmandu as early as possible.

An UNMIN team has arrived at the crash site, some 85 kilometres east of Kathmandu, to assess the situation.  Investigation of the accident is primarily for Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority, with the participation of the Mission and the Russian aircraft company.