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Copter Crash Kills Nepal Princess

November 12, 2001

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) _ A Nepalese princess was killed when the helicopter she was riding in plunged into a lake shortly after takeoff Monday, the Civil Aviation Authority said.

Rescuers recovered the body of Princess Prekshya Shah, 49 a younger sister of Queen Komal. The pilot and two passengers were still missing, and two survivors were flown to a hospital, the authority said.

Officials said the French-made Ecuirrel helicopter failed to gain altitude after taking off and crashed in Rara Lake, about 310 miles west of the Himalayan country’s capital, Katmandu.

Princess Prekshya had been married to Prince Dhirendra, younger brother of the new King Gyanendra, but they had separated and her husband was killed in the June 1 royal palace massacre.

The couple separated after Dhirendra gave up his royal title and moved to London to live with a British woman. He was gunned down by Crown Prince Dipendra along with King Birendra, Queen Aiswarya and six other members of the royal family. Gyanendra, a brother of Birendra, came to the throne.

Princess Prekshya was not at the family dinner gathering where the massacre occurred because she stayed home with back problems. One of a few royal family members who survived, she was not in line for the throne.

Officials said the four other passengers aboard the helicopter were a physician, Dr. Rishi Khatri; an aide, Sharada Singh; and two family friends, Iswor Basent and Dan Bahadur. They said Khatri and Singh were hospitalized. The pilot was Rabin Karera.

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