A HELICOPTER carrying a family of five crashed near Mount Everest – killing everyone on board.
The chopper vanished just minutes after taking off from the mountainous Solukhumbu district in Nepal on Tuesday morning.
GettyA helicopter has crashed after going missing over the Himalayan mountains[/caption]
It dropped off the radar at 10.12am local time (5.12am BST) at an altitude above 12,000 feet over the Himalayan mountains – moments after departing at 10.05am.
The helicopter was on a sightseeing tour to the world’s highest peak and was returning to the capital, Kathmandu.
Five Mexican nationals understood to be from the same family and a Nepalese pilot were on board the chopper.
Authorities say the pilot was Captain Chet B Gurung.
The other five killed have been named as Sifuentes G. Fernando, 95; Sifuentes Rincon Ismail, 98; Sifuentes Gongalez Abril, 72; Gongalez Olacio Luz, 65; and Sifuentes G. Maria Jese, 52.
A huge search effort was launched involving another helicopter in the skies and police and soldiers on the ground.
Cops confirmed the wreckage of the aircraft has been found alongside six bodies.
The chopper was operated by private company Manang Air and was heading for Kathmandu from Solukhumba – home to Mount Everest and other high mountain peaks – when it lost contact.
An investigation into the cause of the crash has been launched.
Raju Neupane, a spokesman for Manang Air, said: “The helicopter took off in good weather.
“The weather was not bad. Now we can’t say what caused the crash. It will have to be investigated.”
Airport official Sagar Kadel earlier said weather conditions had caused changes to be made to the helicopter’s planned flight route.
It is common for flights to be delayed and routes changed during the monsoon season amid heavy rains.
The tourist and mountaineering season ended in May with the onset of the rainy season.
Tourist flights to the mountains are less common this time of year as visibility is poor and weather conditions become unpredictable.