Small passenger plane crashes during bad weather in Nepal, killing 16

September 25th, 2011 - 3:49 pm ICT by BNO News  

KATHMANDU, NEPAL (BNO NEWS) — At least sixteen people were killed on early Sunday morning when a small Buddha Air passenger plane carrying tourists on a sightseeing trip crashed near the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, police said.

The accident happened at around 7.45 a.m. local time when a Beechcraft aircraft crashed into a residential building in the village of Bisankhunarayan in Kathmandu Valley, located several kilometers (miles) from the capital of Kathmandu.

A total of sixteen passengers and three crew members were on board the aircraft which was returning from a sightseeing trip to Mount Everest, which is the world’s highest mountain with a peak at 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) above sea level. It was preparing to land at Kathmandu Airport.

Police said at least sixteen people who were on board the aircraft had been killed, while one survivor was rushed to a local hospital in an unknown condition. Two others remained missing and are feared to have been killed as well. There were no immediate reports of casualties on the ground.

Most of the sixteen passengers on board the aircraft are believed to have been foreign tourists. One rescue official said ten of those on board were Indian tourists, while several others were of an unknown nationality. The crew, as well as several passengers, were local nationals.

The cause of the accident was also not immediately known, but police said weather conditions could not be ruled out. Reports said there was thick fog in the region, significantly reducing visibility. An investigation has been launched.

In December 2010, twenty-two people were killed when a small Tara Air passenger plane crashed after taking off from an airstrip in eastern Nepal. There were no survivors.

And months earlier, in August 2010, fourteen people were killed when an Agni Air twin-turboprop Dornier Do 228 crashed in eastern Nepal. It had taken off from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu but was forced to return to the airport because of bad weather conditions.

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