Just 3 weeks ago, when I was in Nepal, I took a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter flight to Everest base camp. One of the notable stops we made was at the tiny Tenzing-Hillary Airport high in the Himalayas, in the mountain town of Lukla. The airport is the last stop helicopters can make before base camp, and is where helicopters coming from Kathmandu (like ours) have to drop extra weight - namely fuel - so that they can still fly as the air thins in the higher altitudes.
Over the weekend, a plane crashed in the exact spot where I stood 3 weeks ago, waiting for the fuel to be siphoned out of our helicopter, and watching planes take off and land. The crazy thing is that this airport is known as the world’s most dangerous airport because of the short runway and steep drop-offs surrounding it. The plane that crashed over the weekend, however, crashed immediately as it started taxiing for takeoff, at a point where no one would’ve expected a problem.
In this video I made, you can see the entire runway (including where the planes begin their taxiing by the “Lukla Airport” sign), and where this weekend’s fateful crash happened (lower helicopter, which was the one I was in).
Disasters always hit closer to home when they happen in a place you’ve been, especially very recently, and to people with whom you’ve just interacted. This is one of those times for me. I’m just glad it wasn’t worse and hope there isn’t another here for a long time to come. - 7 days ago