Advertisement

Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
AP Photo Nepalese gather around the burning wreckage at the crash site of a Sita Air airplane near Katmandu, Nepal
# Nepal
19 die as plane hits bird and crashes in Nepal
The plane was carrying trekkers to the Mount Everest region when the crash occurred just minutes after takeoff.

A PLANE CARRYING trekkers to the Mount Everest region hit a bird and crashed just after takeoff today in Nepal’s capital, killing the 19 Nepali, British and Chinese people on board, authorities said.

The pilot of the domestic Sita Air flight reported trouble two minutes after takeoff, and Katmandu airport official Ratish Chandra Suman said the pilot appeared to have been trying to turn back.

The crash site is only 500 metres (547 yards) from the airport, and the wrecked plane was pointing toward the airport area. Suman said the plane hit a vulture just after it took off, causing the crash.

Fire

Investigators were trying to identify the bodies, and Suman said he could not confirm whether the plane was already on fire before it crashed. Cellphone video shot by locals showed that the front section of the plane was on fire when it first hit the ground and that the pilot apparently had attempted to land the plane on open ground beside a river.

The fire quickly spread to the rear, but the tail was still in one piece at the scene near the Manohara River on the southwest edge of Katmandu. Villagers were unable to approach the plane because of the fire, and it took some time for firefighters to reach the area and bring the fire under control.

Soldiers and police sifted through the crash wreckage looking for bodies and documents to help identify the victims. Seven passengers were British and five were Chinese; the other four passengers and the three crew members were from Nepal, authorities said.

Large numbers of local people and security forces gathered at the crash site. The victims’ bodies were taken by vans to the hospital morgue.

Weather

The weather in Katmandu and surrounding areas was clear this morning, and the plane was one of the first of the day to take off from Katmandu’s Tribhuwan International Airport.

The plane was heading for Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest. Thousands of Westerners make treks in the region around the world’s highest peak each year.

Nepal, with its poor-quality mountain roads and network of little airports, has a long history of small plane crashes. Including this crash, there have been at least six crashes of small planes since October 2008.

Read: Avalanche kills nine climbers in Nepal>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
7