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Airlift of stranded tourists in northeastern Nepal resumes

11-07-2011 15:47 BJT

KATHMANDU, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Air services from Lukla in northeastern Nepal disrupted for some days due to bad weather resumed from Monday morning with improvement in weather condition.

Tara Air and Agni Air have operated three flights each until now after the weather improved. Although the Nepal Army had been making efforts to rescue tourists stranded in Lukla using its MI- 17 helicopter over the last three days, it had not been able to do so due to the inclement weather. But it has operated one flight Monday.

Similarly, the Fishtail Air has operated one flight. Over 150 among the stranded foreign tourists have been rescued by Monday morning, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Lukla office.

So far, more than 500 tourists have been rescued. Similarly, some tourists have already set on foot towards Kathmandu via Jiri, Dolakha district after seeing no hope of improvement in weather, said Pasang Sherpa, a local tourism entrepreneur.

The rescue operation of more than 2000 stranded tourists in Lukla is being hampered till Sunday due to adverse weather conditions.

The tourists have been stranded in the Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla since last Tuesday following a sudden change in weather condition. In January 2008, the airport was renamed in honor of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, the first persons to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.

The small airport which is located at an altitude of 2,860 meters is one of the busiest airports in Nepal as it is the gateway for tourists visiting Mt. Everest.

The surrounding terrain, thin air, highly changeable weather and the airport's short, sloping runway make it one of the most challenging landing strips in the world.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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