Copter Crash Near Mt. Everest

A helicopter flying near Mount Everest with nine passengers and crew crashed at a base camp for climbers Wednesday, airport officials said.

Officials said two Nepalese people were killed. A British Broadcasting Corp. correspondent at the scene reported three deaths.

Huge pieces of the aircraft flew into the air as it attempted to land in the shadow of Everest. The cause of the crash was not known.

The Russian-built MI-17 helicopter belonged to Simrik Air, a domestic company.

Among the injured was its pilot. He and another person were in critical condition and were flown to the Nepalese capital, Katmandu.

Two army rescue helicopters were sent to the area to help in rescue efforts.

Hundreds of climbers and their team members are in the Mount Everest region to mark the 50th anniversary of the conquest of the world's highest mountain in 1953 by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.