Unauthorized helicopter flight to Mt Everest leads to grounding Prabhu Helicopter

Kathmandu: The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has taken swift action following an unauthorized helicopter flight to Mount Everest, grounding all flights operated by Prabhu Helicopter and suspending senior captain Sobit Gauchan. The incident, which occurred on Sunday morning, has sparked controversy and raised concerns about aviation safety and compliance with regulations.

According to CAAN, mountaineer Nirmal Purja Magar, popularly known as Nims Dai, conducted a helicopter flight to Camp 2 under the Mount Everest region without proper authorization. Eyewitnesses in the Everest region reported that Purja forcibly commandeered the helicopter, violating regulations that prohibit flights above the Everest base camp except for emergencies.

The unauthorized flight, conducted using Prabhu Helicopter’s A350 B3 with the callsign 9N-ANL, departed from Kathmandu and directly landed at Camp 2, bypassing established protocols and legal restrictions. CAAN has emphasized that the helicopter did not engage in any rescue mission, raising further questions about the purpose and legality of the flight.

In response to this breach of aviation rules and a recent Supreme Court order imposing a ban on non-emergency helicopter flights to Mount Everest, CAAN has grounded senior captain Sobit Gauchan and initiated an investigation into the incident. The Supreme Court’s order, issued following a public interest litigation, underscores the gravity of the situation and the need for strict adherence to regulations governing aviation activities in the region.

CAAN has also called upon Prabhu Helicopter to provide an explanation regarding the violation and to cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation. This development highlights the challenges of balancing adventure tourism with environmental conservation and safety concerns in the Himalayan region. Stay tuned for further updates on this developing story as authorities work to address the ramifications of the unauthorized helicopter flight to Mount Everest.