Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Plane Crash In Lukla

Oct 8 - Eighteen people on board died and one injured when a small aircraft belonging to the Yeti Airlines crashed in Lukla in the lap of Mt Everest in Solukhumbu district on Wednesday morning.
Fourteen foreign tourists— 12 Germans and two Australian-- and four Nepalis including two crew members died when the ill-fated twin otter (9N-AFE) that took off from Kathmandu to Lukla, carrying 19 people on board, crashed near the Tenzing-Hillary Airport just before landing at 7.30 this morning.
Surendra Kunwar, the captain of the plane, however survived the tragic accident.
Captain Kunwar is undergoing treatment at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in the capital.
The deceased were apparently heading for a trek arranged by the Lama Excursions.
Meanwhile, the deceased Nepalis have been identified as co-pilot Bikash Pant, air hostess Sunita Shrestha, and air passengers S Adhikari and G Sharma.
The Nepal Army is preparing to airlift the dead bodies to the capital.
According to eyewitnesses, the aircraft burst into flames after crash-landing on the sloping airstrip.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) informed that the visibility at the airport was zero due to foggy weather. At least a visibility of 5,000 is required for landing in the mountainous area, the CAAN said.
Lukla's runway is just 20m wide and is set on a slope, with a steep 700m drop at one end.
Lukla's Tenzing-Hillary airport in the eastern Nepal is the gateway to Nepal's Everest region.Meanwhile, the government is forming a commission to look into the place crash.
Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hisila Yami informed that the commission will be formed to day itself.
She visited injured captain Kunwar at the Hospital and inquired about his health.
Also today, the CAAN sent a team comprising a doctor and two officials to Lukla.
source: ekantipur

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