Nepal plane crash kills 15, six survive

A small plane crashed near a treacherous high-altitude airport in northern Nepal on Monday, killing 15 people while six others miraculously survived, police said.

The aircraft belonging to local carrier Agni Air ploughed into the ground just outside Jomsom airport, a gateway to the Annapurna mountain range, shortly after the pilot reported a fault.

"Fifteen people have been killed. Thirteen of them were Indian tourists and the other two were Nepali pilots," police spokesman Binod Singh told AFP.

He said there were six survivors, among them a Nepali air hostess and an Indian man who is being treated for head injuries.

The Danish foreign ministry in Copenhagen said two Danes had also been rescued and were being treated in the city of Pokhara, 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Jomsom.

Basanta Dawadi, of the Pokhara tourism council, said he had spoken to the pair, a man and woman in their early 30s who were both trekkers.

"They told me the plane was about to land and suddenly it ascended and its left wing hit something. The plane rolled and then plunged into the ground. The emergency door opened and they crawled out of the aircraft.

"They told me they lost consciousness and then they were rescued."

The man had foot injuries while the woman had a cut on her throat, Dawadi said.

The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said two Indian children aged nine and six had been pulled out alive from the wreckage. It released no details about their injuries but said they had been taken to hospital.

The Indian group had chartered the flight from Pokhara for a pilgrimage to Muktinath, a sacred place for Hindus and Buddhists at the foot of the Thorong La pass in the Himalayas, local police spokesman Rajendra Singh Bhandari said.

"A Nepal army barracks is near the accident site which made the rescue of survivors easier," he added, saying they had been airlifted to Pokhara, a city popular with foreign trekkers and tourists.

Dozens of army and police personnel scoured the steep hillside where the plane had come to rest, picking through the wreckage and scattered personal effects.

Bimlesh Lal Karna, head of Nepal's national rescue department, said the pilot had reported a warning light flashing in the cockpit as he descended to Jomsom.

The pilot told air traffic control moments before the crash that he was diverting back to Pokhara, said Karna.

"The aircraft seems to have lost balance," Karna told AFP.

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai issued a statement saying he was "deeply saddened" by the accident, while the Indian embassy set up a hotline providing information for desperate relatives.

"I express condolences to the bereaved families and wish for the speedy recovery of the injured," Bhattarai said.

The incident was the second deadly air accident for Agni Air in less than two years.

In August 2010, one of its planes crashed in bad weather near Kathmandu, killing all 14 people on board, including four Americans, a Japanese and a British national.

The latest fatal crash in Nepal -- the fifth in less than two years -- will lead to new scrutiny of the country's numerous small airlines, which provide vital links to remote parts of the country.

Jomsom Airport, at an elevation of 2,707 metres (8,880 feet), has a reputation for being one of the world's most dangerous airfields due to the mountainous terrain on the approach.

However, the US-based Flight Safety Foundation, an independent non-profit organisation researching air accidents across the globe, lists just three fatal crashes at or near the asphalt landing strip since 1970.

In another recent accident in Nepal, a small Buddha Air plane taking tourists on a sightseeing trip around Mount Everest crashed in September last year, killing all 19 people on board.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • China ignores global outcry vs reclamation
    China ignores global outcry vs reclamation

    On Wednesday, G-7 foreign ministers issued a Declaration on Maritime Security expressing alarm over “unilateral actions, such as large scale land reclamation, which change the status quo and increase tensions” in the region. In their communiqué, which did not specifically mention China, the ministers expressed belief that reclamation activities were meant to “change the status quo” in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, through which 40 percent of global trade passes. …

  • Project NOAH exec receives recognition
    Project NOAH exec receives recognition

    Project NOAH executive director and University of the Philippines professor Mahar Lagmay recently received recognition from the European Geosciences Union (EGU) for his work in disaster risk reduction and mitigation in the Philippines. …

  • Nightclub ban for US troops
    Nightclub ban for US troops

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said yesterday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipino he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow the 10-day annual military exercises, according to Capt. Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

  • US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow
    US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening  defense alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China’s increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Palace defends legal tack in sea row
    Palace defends legal tack in sea row

    There is nothing weak about taking the legal and diplomatic approach to push for the country’s claims in the disputed West Philippine Sea, Malacañang maintained yesterday. On Friday, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares led a rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City to protest China’s massive reclamation activities in the Spratly island group to fortify its presence in the disputed waters. Colmenares also criticized the Philippine government for supposedly not doing enough to defend …

  • Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death
    Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death

    The sons of Mary Jane Veloso, who is facing execution in Indonesia for drug smuggling, yesterday appealed to government officials to do everything to spare their mother from death. “We love you,” Mark Daniel, 12, said when asked for a message for his mother following a press conference at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Mark Daniel, an incoming Grade 8 student, reiterated his appeal to those in power to help save his mother from death. His younger brother, …

  • US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow
    US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers on Monday will kick off expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening defence alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China's increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial
    Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said Saturday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipina he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will on Monday kick off 10-day annual military excercises, according to Captain Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options