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Bad weather obstructs flights to rescue 800 tourists stranded in NE Nepal


11:18, November 15, 2011

KATHMANDU, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Over 800 tourists remained stranded on Tuesday in northeastern Nepal as bad weather obstructed flights.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority, all 44 flights to the Nepali capital Kathmandu from Lukla scheduled for Monday were cancelled because of bad weather. Two helicopters of Fishtail Air and a helicopter of Dynastic Air that left for Kathmandu from there returned from the midway.

Similarly, over 80 tourists have been stranded in Phaplu as thick fog and drizzle obstructed flights to Kathmandu.

Many foreign and domestic tourists have been stranded at Lukla and Phaplu airports following the disruption of flights due to bad weather for the past few weeks.

Lukla, the small airport located at an altitude of 2,860 meters, is one of the busiest airports in Nepal as it is the entry point for the trekkers visiting Mount Everest (Mt. Qomolangma).

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 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.

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