Nepal’s Tenzing-Hillary Lukla Airport, the main gateway to the Everest region, is considered to be the most dangerous airport in the world, and not without reason. Measuring only 1,500 feet, the runway doesn’t leave much wiggle room for pilot error. The runway is surrounded by sizeable mountains and the drop at the very end of the landing strip reaches almost 10,000 feet, so taking off from this airport is as sketchy as it gets.
On Saturday, a twin-engine aircraft attempting to take off from Summit Air veered off the runway and hit a stationary helicopter, killing three people — the plane’s pilot and two police officers stationed near the helicopter. Four others were injured. According to The Washington Post, the four passengers and flight attendant on the plane are safe.
As the weather and visibility were good, the cause of Saturday’s crash is not yet determined.
Only experienced pilots — who have made at least 100 landings and takeoffs on short runways and have one year’s worth of experience in such conditions — are allowed to fly in and out of Tenzing-Hillary Lukla Airport, but even those requirements haven’t eliminated the possibility of crashes.
Nepal’s flight safety record is so poor, the European Union has actually banned all Nepalese airlines from its airspace, according to the BBC.