Nepal plane crash kills 15, including 13 Indians

Last Updated: Mon, May 14, 2012 07:30 hrs

By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A small plane owned by a private company crashed in northwest Nepal on Monday, killing 15 people including 13 Indians, officials said.

The Dornier aircraft owned by private Agni Air company was carrying 18 passengers and a crew of three on a flight from the resort town of Pokhara to Jomsom when it crashed while landing at the mountain airstrip.

"Among those killed are 13 Indians and two Nepalis," Kathmandu airport official Mahesh Shrestha said.

Six survivors had been taken to a hospital in Pokhara and the condition of at least one of them is critical, he said.

Two Danish tourists were among those rescued.

Jomsom, about 125 km (79 miles) northwest of Kathmandu, is a gateway for trekking in the region where Mount Annapurna, the world's 10th highest mountain, is located.

In September last year, 19 people returning after viewing Mount Everest were killed when their plane crashed in bad weather near Kathmandu.

It was not immediately clear what caused Monday's crash.

Nepal is home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountain peaks, including Mount Everest.

Tens of thousands of hikers and foreign tourists go to Mount Everest and other trekking routes to see the lofty Himalayan peaks every year.

Tourism, a key source of earning for impoverished Nepal, accounts for nearly four percent of the gross domestic product and employs tens of thousands of people. (Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Tony Tharakan)

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