Aircraft crash in Nepal kills 19


A small plane crashed shortly after takeoff today from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, killing 19 people.

The twin-engine propeller-driven Dornier aircraft, owned by private firm Sita Air, had taken off from Kathmandu for Lukla in the Mount Everest region when it crashed in a field near Kathmandu airport, police said.

Seven British and five Chinese passengers were killed, and four Nepali passengers and three Nepali crew were among the dead. A hiking group, Sherpa Adventure, said the Britons involved had been heading to the Khumbu area, home to Everest and other peaks.

Rescuers pulled bodies from the smouldering wreckage in a field on a riverbank near the airport. The Dornier, one of three operated by private firm Sita Air, was bound on a clear morning for Lukla - a gateway to Mount Everest.

Ratish Chandra Lal, general manager of Kathmandu airport, said the pilot had informed air traffic controllers that the plane had hit a bird.

The crash was the sixth fatal air incident in less than two years in Nepal, where more than a dozen small private carriers often brave bad weather to fly to mountain areas served by no proper road network.

Tourism officials said the latest crash could deter foreign tourists from embarking on treks in Nepal. Many of the dead were trekkers.

Autumn is the peak tourism season in Nepal which has eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, including Mount Everest.

At least 11 people were killed in an avalanche in northwest Nepal on Sunday. In May, 15 people were killed when their plane crashed into a hill in northwest Nepal.

Nepal receives more than half a million tourists every year, many of them Western hikers and climbers. Tourism accounts for 4 per cent of an economy battered by a decade of civil war.


The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Screen Name Selection


Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.