12 foreigners, seven Nepalis killed in a plane crash in Kathmandu

The crashed plane with another flying plane in the back ground. (Photo: Bikash Dware)

Kathmandu, Sept. 29: Nineteen passengers including three crew members were killed in an aircraft crash in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday morning.

A Dornier Aircraft belonging to Sita Air crashed a kilometer away from the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), the only international airport of the tiny Himalayan country, after it collided with an eagle immediately after takeoff.

The plane heading for Lukla in Solukhumbhu, the gateway to Mt. Everest, lost communications with the airport control tower after it collided with a bird and crashed near Manahara River just 30 metres away from the crowded human settlement around 6:18 am local time.

Seven Britons, five Chinese and seven Nepalese including three crew members, were killed in the crash, Flight Operation Director at the TIA Rishikesh Sharma said.

The official and a few private media published the names of all deceased passengers. However, a few local media reported that the names of the Britons were yet to be confirmed.

It was the second fatal air accident in five months and fifth in two years.

On May 14 this year, 15 passengers, mostly the Indian pilgrims, were killed when a plane crashed in Jomsom, in western Nepal.

On 25 September last year, 19 passengers were killed in similar crash in Kathmandu valley.

General Manager of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal Ratish Chandra Lal Suman told a press conference organized here that the accident took place after a bird hit the aircraft.

After the bird hit the plane, the bird lost its control and continued to hit the plane, Suman said.

Prior to the accident, the crew members informed the air traffic control room about the collision, he added.

“The condition of the crash site shows that the crew members tried to make a forceful landing in the river with the motive to minimize the causalities,” Suman told the press.
It took about 45 minutes for the rescue workers to douse the fire in the planes.

The charred and severed bodies of the victims were at one place in the back part of the plane.

Meanwhile the government had formed a probe panel to investigate into the accident.

An eyewitness, who was working in the farm nearby the accident site, said that she saw people inside the plane screaming and shouting for help.

The plane crashed 50 just 50 metres away from her, she said.

Meanwhile, senior captain of Nepal Airlines Rabindra Kumar Serchan refuted the TIA officials’ claim that the crash resulted due to bird-aircraft collision.


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