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Last Updated: Fri, 28.09.12 12:28

19 die in Sita Air Crash; 7 Nepalis, 7 Brits and 5 Chinese among dead

A plane carrying tourists to Lukla, gateway to Mt Everest, crashed in Bhaktapur on Friday, killing all 19 people, including four Nepalis, seven British and five Chinese passengers on board.

Security personnel inspecting the Sita Air plane crash site near Manohara River in Bhaktapur, which is two kilometers away from the Kathmandu airport, Friday morning, 28 Sept 2012. All 19 people including crew members on board were killed in the crash. nepalnews.com/Ram Humagai
Security personnel inspecting the Sita Air plane crash site near Manohara River in...

The twin-engine propeller-driven Dornier plane belonging to Sita Air (9 NAHA) was also carrying three crew members - pilot Bijay Tandukar, co-pilot Takesingh Thapa and air-hostess Ruja Shakya - when it crashed at 6:20 am, four minutes after taking off from Kathmandu's international airport.

The Nepali passengers who were killed in today's air tragedy have been identified as Kumar Marshyangdi Magar (a Nepal Army personnel), D Rai, Yangchay Tamang and LN Sherpa. The British national who died in the crash has been identified as Eagle Raymond.

The plane crashed at the banks of Manohara River in Thimi, just a few kilometers east of Kathmandu.

Eyewitnesses said people living in a small settlement near the site of the plane crash were panic stricken after seeing the plane hit the ground and erupt in flames immediately. No casualties were reported on the ground, however.

The bodies have been taken to TU Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj in Maharajgunj for postmortem.

Although the reason of the crash is still not known, it is not ruled out that the plane pilot tried to make an emergency landing in Manohara after facing some technical glitches following a fire on board the aircraft. Some unconfirmed reports also say that the plane had caught fire after a bird hit the plane's propeller.

In May this year, fifteen people were killed when a plane they were travelling in crashed into a hill in Jomsom district in northwestern Nepal.

Since 1955, Nepal has witnessed 74 air tragedies in which 670 people have lost their lives. nepalnews.com