15 killed in Nepal plane crash

Last Updated: Mon, May 14, 2012 10:02 hrs

Kathmandu, May 14 (IBNS) A small plane with tourists crashed in Nepal's northern Himalayan mountain region before landing in one of the risky airports on Monday morning, killing at least 15 people, including 13 Indians.

Officials said the plane with 21 people, including three crew members, has six survivors.

Among the survivors three are Indians and two are tourists from Denmark.

The plane belonging to Agri Air crashed at around 9-45 pm before landing at Jomsom airport which is at a very high altitude (8800 feet) and a gateway to a popular tourist trekking and pilgrimage destinations visited by Hindus.

The plane was heading to Jomsom from Pokhra.

Promod Pandey, a representative of the private Agni Air airline which operates the flight, confirmed to an Indian TV channel that there were 16 Indians and two Westerners while six people survived the crash and were taken to hospital in Pokhara.

He said the plane was 12 years old and most experienced pilots fly in the sector.

According to Agni Air website, Jomsom, (2,713m) is important for its strategic position along the popular Around Annapurna (Circuit) Trek route.

It is also the starting point for many interesting treks like the Kagbeni, Marpha, Muktinath and Mustang treks.

The Jomsom Trek is known for splendid mountain views.

Jomsom is the capital and administration headquarters of Mustang district, which stretches from the Tibetan border to Ghasa along the Kali Gandaki River.

The deepest gorge in the world lies here along the Kali Gandaki as the river passes between two eight thousanders, Mt Annapurna and Mt Dhaulagiri.

Meanwhile, India´s external affairs minister S M Krishna in a statement said he was saddened to hear about the tragic air crash that occurred earlier this morning near Jomsong airport in Nepal.

"I would like to convey my deep condolences to the families of all those who have lost their lives in this accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all those who have lost their near and dear ones. I hope that the Almighty will grant them strength to bear their loss with fortitude," he said.

New Delhi also announced some helpline numbers.

Indian Embassy in Kathmandu sets up 24hrs HELP Lines to provide information on the air crash in Nepal.

Tel No: 0097714423702
0097714410900 (Ext: 4109)

Image: A file photo of the plane operated by Agni Air at Jomsom airport as displayed on the airline´s website.

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