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18 killed in plane crash in Nepal

Source: PTI
October 08, 2008 12:01 IST
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Eighteen people, mostly foreign trekkers to the world's tallest mountain, Mount Everest were killed when a small Nepalese private airliner crashed early Wednesday morning at Lukla in Northeastern Nepal.

The twin-engined Otter aircraft of the Yeti airlines hit the airport boundary fence while approaching for landing in bad weather conditions at 7.35 am (local time), according to state run Nepal TV.

The aircraft was carrying 19 people, including 3 crew members.

While 18 were killed on the spot, the pilot of the ill-fated aircraft Captain Surendra Kunwar survived, but was stated to be in critical condition at the TU Teaching Hospital were he was rushed.

The plane was carrying as many as 14 foreign tourists and 4 Nepalese. These included 12 Germans and 2 Australians.

The Kathmandu-Lukla flight is more popularly known as Everest flight as it ferries tourists who want to see Mount Everest from close or to take part in treks around its base camp.

The aircraft burst into flames after crash landing on the sloping airstrip, eye-witnesses reported.

Security staff and local people took two hours to put-off the fire in the wreckage of the aircraft. Hundreds of foreign tourists and residents also helped in salvage operation.

Officials at the airport said that bad weather was the reason for the crash. The area was completely covered by clouds when the accident occurred.

The flight from Kathmandu to the Lukla airstrip named after the Everest heroes Tenzing-Hillary is the gateway to the Everest region used by thousands of trekkers and mountaineers.
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