A SMALL passenger plane has crashed into a parked helicopter during take-off near Mount Everest, killing at least three people and injuring four others.

The crash occurred while the plane, a Twin Otter belonging to Summit Air, was trying to take off from Lukla for Kathmandu in Nepal, aviation officials said.

The plane skidded off the runaway, hitting the Manang Air helicopter.

Both are private airline companies that cater to tourists and Nepalese in the country’s remote areas.

The injured were airlifted to Kathmandu by helicopter. The dead included a pilot of the plane and two police officers who were near the parked helicopter.

The four passengers and a flight attendant on the plane were safe, officials said.

Following the crash, authorities suspended services at Tenzing Hillary Airport at Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest.

The airport is often referred to as the world’s most dangerous because of the short runway and difficult approach.

It is open only to helicopters and small fixed-wing aircraft. It sits at an elevation of 9334 feet.

MEANWHILE, more than 120 people have been killed in ongoing clashes between rival militias for control of Libya’s capital, the UN’s health agency has said.

The World Health Organisation said at least 121 people had been killed and 561 injured since the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) launched a major military offensive in Tripoli on April 5.

The National:

The fighting pits the LNA, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter, against rival militias loosely affiliated with a weak UN-backed government based in the city.

The UN said earlier this week that more than 8000 people have been displaced by the fighting.

ELSEWHERE, Pope Francis warned against being judgmental and too full of oneself, in his Palm Sunday homily to thousands of people during Mass in St Peter’s Square in Rome.

He cautioned against the temptation of “triumphalism,” which he said feeds itself by “looking askance at others and constantly judging them inferior, wanting, failures.”

The day ushers in Holy Week, which will include Way of the Cross processions around the world to commemorate the Passion, or suffering, of Jesus on Good Friday and his death by crucifixion.

FINALLY, the president of the Seychelles has made a plea for stronger protection for the world’s oceans, in a speech delivered from deep below the surface.

Danny Faure joined researchers from a British-led scientific charity, who have been using submersibles to dive deep below the waves to document the health of the Indian Ocean.