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Fatalities After UN Helicopter Crashes In E. Nepal

Fatalities reported after UN helicopter crashes in eastern Nepal

3 March 2008 - The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has sent a team to the eastern part of the country after one of its helicopters crashed there today, amid reports that there have been fatalities.

UNMIN said it lost contact with the helicopter at 4 p.m. local time. The flight, which left the Maoist cantonment site at Sindhuli, was carrying seven UNMIN personnel and three crew members. It had been bound for Kathmandu, the capital.

"UNMIN has had contact with local authorities at Ramechhap district, who advise that a helicopter has crashed in the vicinity of the Bethan village, that the helicopter has been located and that there are fatalities," the Mission said in a statement.

The Mission has sent a team by road to the crash site, about 85 kilometres east of Kathmandu, to assess the situation and confirm the reports.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he had learned of the news with "great sorrow," according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.

UNMIN said it would provide further updates as more confirmed information becomes available.

ENDS

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