All 19 people, including seven Britons and five Chinese, aboard a small plane carrying trekkers to the Everest region, were killed today when the aircraft crashed and burned after a bird hit as soon as it took off from the Nepalese capital.
Sixteen passengers and three crew members who were heading towards Lukla, gateway to Mt Everest, for trekking in the mountain region, were all killed when a Sita Airways-owned Dornier aircraft crashed two minutes after it took off at 6:15 am (local time) from the Tribhuvan International Airport, officials said. Among the 16 passengers, who have died in the Dornier Aircraft 9N AHA D228 crash, were seven British, five Chinese and four Nepalese nationals, according to the Rescue Coordination Committee of the Tribhuvan International Airport. The three crew members were Nepalese.
“Immediately after the take off, the air traffic controllers noticed the aircraft making unusual maneuvers. When the controller asked the pilot about it, he said the plane had struck a bird,” Manager of Tribhuvan International Airport Ratish Chandra Lal Suman said. “Shortly after, the aircraft crashed. All the bodies have been sent to hospital for post mortem examinations,” he said. The police, army and airport staff rushed to the accident site for carrying out rescue work soon after the crash. The plane had caught fire as soon as it took off and it crashed at the banks of the Manahara river in Koteshwor region, near a slum area, just 2-3 km south of the airport, officials said.
The crew members are identified as Captain Bijaya Tandukar, co-Pilot Takeshi Thapa and airhostess Ruja Shakya. The country has a poor record in road and air accidents with the latest fatal air crash in Nepal being the sixth in less than two years. Earlier this year in May, Agni Air’s Dornier Aircraft crashed near Jomsom airport in the north of Kathmandu killing 15 people.
Those killed in that accident included 13 Indian pilgrims who were heading towards a famous pilgrimage site, Muktinath, near Tibet border. In September last year, a small Beach Aircraft belonging to Buddha Air, carrying tourists on a mountain flight trip around Everest crashed into a hillside at Godavari village near Kathmandu, killing 19 people, including 10 Indians.
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