12 Germans among 18 killed in Nepal plane crash (Third Lead)

October 8th, 2008 - 3:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Oct 8 (IANS) Eighteen people, including 12 German and two Australian tourists, were killed when the plane they were travelling in went up in flames in remote northern Nepal Wednesday.Eight women were among the people who perished in the early morning crash at the Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla in Solukhumbu district, including cabin attendant Sunita Shrestha.

According to the list released by Yeti Airlines, besides the western tourists, there were two Nepalis on board as well as a three-member crew.

The German victims are: M. Wiess (F), H. Wiess, A. Thiele (F), U. Thiele, T. Krause, S. Krause (F), B. Thorsten, N. Jankoster (F), A. Blomke, S. Blomke (F), A. Langanke (F), and J. Sauter.

The two Australian passengers are A. Frick and C. Kate (F).

Two Nepali men, Govinda Sharma and Santosh Adhikari, also perished in the crash along with co-pilot Vikas Pant.

The pilot, Surendra Kunwar, was the only member to survive the crash miraculously. He was air-lifted to Kathmandu for medical treatment where doctors declared him to be out of danger.

The 9N-AFE Twin Otter plane was heading from Kathmandu to Lukla where the tourists were booked for a trekking expedition.

October is the peak trekking season in Nepal and hundreds of tourists head for Lukla to go walking among the Himalayan ranges.

While landing at the Tenzing-Hillary Airport, one of the trickiest in the world due to the rapidly changing weather and mountainous terrain, the plane ran into mist, overshot the narrow runway and hit the fencing, immediately erupting into flames.

The Nepal Army began preparations to retrieve the badly mangled and burnt bodies and bring them back to Kathmandu for post mortem.

Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Hisila Yami, who visited Kathmandu’s Teaching Hospital to enquire about the injured pilot, said the government would form a commission to probe the crash.

This is the first aviation disaster suffered by Nepal’s one-month-old Maoist government.

Yeti Airlines, a leading domestic flight operator, had tied up with Air Arabia this year to form FlyYeti, a low-cost international airline.

Nepal has a long history of air disasters, mostly caused by bad weather and human error.

In March, 10 UN staffers were killed when the helicopter ferrying them to the capital from a Maoist army cantonment crashed in Ramechhap district east of Kathmandu.

In October 2006, the world was shocked by a crash in eastern Nepal in which 24 people were killed, including Nepal’s leading conservationists, WWF officials and a Nepali minister and his wife.

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