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19 killed as private aircraft crashes in Nepal

September 28, 2012 08:51 IST

All 19 people, mostly foreigners, aboard a Dornier aircraft of a private airline were killed on Friday morning as the plane crashed minutes after taking off from the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.

Sixteen passengers and three crewmembers who were heading towards Lukla, gateway to Mount Everest, were killed when the small aircraft belonging to Sita Airways crashed two minutes after it took off at 6:15 am (local time), airport officials said.

The plane had caught fire as soon as it took off and it crashed at the bank of the Manahara river in Koteshwor region, near a slum area, just 2-3 km south of the airport, the officials said.

All the passengers are said to be foreigners and most of them are Italian tourists, according to preliminary reports.

The crewmembers are identified as Captain Bijaya Tandukar, co-Pilot Takeshi Thapa and airhostess Ruja Shakya.

Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
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