(English) Panel formed to probe into ‘illegal Everest flight’

Image: agency
Image: agency

KATHMANDU, Nepal–Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the lone aviation regulatory body in the country has constituted a probe panel to study whether or not mountaineers used chopper above the Everest camp II, this season.

CAAN’s move came after a Chinesese climber Wang Jing drew criticism of using a copter to go to climb II from base camp in an attempt to avoid the dangerous icefall route where the ropes were yet to fix due to dreadful avalanche.

A three-member panel, headed by senior pilot Gunj Man Lama, is assigned to look into the details of chopper flights made on the Everest region.

Fishtail Air’s Captain Maurizio Folini has already said that he had flown a four-seater Bell 206B III Jet Ranger chopper to carry Chinese climber Wang above the Camp II from the Base Camp on May 10.

Wang who conquered the peak on May 23 reportedly flew back to Base camp from camp II.

American climber Cleo Weidlich also flew via a copter during her attempt to climb Mt Lhotse this season. She later quit her expedition.

The panel will first identify the chopper companies and ask them to produce details of the Everest flights. It will also dig out the flight details recorded by the air traffic control towers.

Normally choppers are not allowed above the Base Camp except for emergency cases and permitted flights to carry load.

The panel will submit its report within a week and summit it to the Tourism Ministry.

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