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Last Updated: Monday, 15 August 2005, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Row over Everest helicopter claim
By Bhagirath Yogi
BBC News, Kathmandu

The Eurocopter starts its Everest mission
Eurocopter said their craft had reached the summit
The Nepalese authorities plan to notify international aviation bodies that a helicopter firm's claim to have landed at the summit of Everest is false.

They say the claim in May by France's Eurocopter firm that one of its craft made it to the top is misleading.

Eurocopter said that the helicopter was the first to land and take off at the summit of the mountain.

The firm has yet to respond to the allegations by the Nepalese government that it violated aviation guidelines.

The controversy over Eurocopter's claim has now been rumbling for three months.

Nepalese authorities say Eurocopter first sought permission from the government to carry out a test flight around Everest.

They said permission was granted with the view that, if successful, the mission would convey the message that rescues could be launched at a much higher altitude.

Nepalese investigation

The authorities were taken aback when more than a week after its team had returned home, Eurocopter organised a news conference in Paris claiming that its helicopter had made history.

An investigation carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said in June the Eurocopter claim was totally false.

It said it had a written statement by pilot Didier Delsalle saying that the helicopter had made an emergency landing a kilometre below, at the South Col, due to bad weather.

Talking to BBC News on Monday, a spokesman at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Sharada Prasad Trital, said the government had decided to inform international aviation authorities as it could not take action against the French company directly.

He said it was quite clear that Eurocopter had violated the guidelines set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Nepalese authorities say they have sought an explanation from Eurocopter but that it has yet to respond.

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