Eight injured when plane flies down to river in west Nepal

Captain Deependra Pradhan wsho was injured seriously in Jomsom plane crash being airlifted to Pokhara (Photo: Ekraj Giri)

Kathmandu – Ten passengers including three crew members were injured when a twin otter aircraft belonging to Nepal Airlines Corportaion crashed into Kaligandaki riverbanks after skidding off from a runway in western Nepal on Thursday morning.

The chartered flight plane was carrying 22 passengers including eight Japanese and an infant from Pokhara to Jomsom, some 200 kilometres west of Kathmandu.

The plane skidded off the Jomsom Airport and fell down into the river while it was taking a turning in the airport after landing.

NAC officials said its pilot Deependra Pradhan and co-pilot Suresh KC, who were seriously injured, were airlifted to Kathmandu. Other injured passengers including four Japanese nationals were undergoing treatment in Pokhara.

Last year, a passenger plane crashed at the same Jomsom airport, killing 15 people including 13 Indian tourists. Six people survived the crash.

An eyewitness policeman said the plane crashed on the banks of Kaligandaki river near the airport after it skidded off the runway while making a turn.

Although the officials have not yet told public about the cause of crash, many believe that the accident occurred due to poor condition of the plane. According to sources, the ill-feted plane was in operation for the last 40 years.

The Japanese tourists were flying to Jomsom, an airport town near Muktinath, a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site at the foot of the Thorong La Himalayan mountain pass.

Nepal has a poor road network and tourists, pilgrims and professional climbers often rely on the domestic airlines to reach remote areas but its aviation sector has a bad safety record.

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