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Nepal plane crashes minutes after take-off, 19 dead

Last updated on: September 28, 2012 10:50 IST

Nepal plane crashes minutes after take-off

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All 19 people on board a private airlines-owned Dornier aircraft were killed on Friday when the plane crashed minutes after taking off from the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.

The sixteen passengers and three crew members were heading towards Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest, for trekking in the mountain region. They 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.

Among the 16 passengers 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.

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Image: The wreckage of a Dornier aircraft, owned by private firm Sita Air, is seen as a rescue team investigates at its crash site in Kathmandu
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

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Nepal plane crashes minutes after take-off

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The police, army and airport staff rushed to the accident site to carry 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 have been identified as Captain Bijaya Tandukar, co-Pilot Takeshi Thapa and airhostess Ruja Shakya. The reason of the accident is not yet known.

Some airport officials have speculated that bird hit might have caused the plane to catch fire immediately after it took off and the pilot might have tried to land into the nearby river, before it crashed at the river bank.

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Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

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Nepal plane crashes minutes after take-off

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Nepal has a poor record in road and air accidents, The latest fatal air crash is the sixth in less than two years.

In May, Agni Air's Dornier Aircraft crashed near Jomsom airport in north Kathmandu, killing 15 people. Those killed in that accident included 13 Indian pilgrims who were heading towards 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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Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

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