Kaski, May 14
A Dornier 9N AIG-D228 plane of Agni Air crashed Monday morning in Jomsom airport killing 15 passengers on board.
The ill-fated plane was flying to Jomsom from Pokhara taking 16 Indian pilgrims, two Danish tourists and three crew members. Of them, five passengers and an airhostess were safely rescued from the crash site.
The Agni Air took off from Pokhara at 9:30 am and crashed 20 minutes after in course of landing at the Jomsom airport at an altitude of 2,707 metres.
Pilot Prabhu Sharan Pathak and co-pilot Suman Dongol Maharjan died on the spot while air hostess Roshani Hainju was safely rescued from the crash site.
The Indian pilgrims were on way to Muktinath, one of the holy sites of the Hindus in the high mountain of western Nepal.
The plane crashed on a hill some one nautical mile (1.8 Kms) west of the Jomsom airport while it was preparing to land.
Among the killed Indian nationals were identified as K. Chaitanya, S.K Arora, M Honda, M.K Honda, K.O. Arora, T. Sachdev, G. Sachdev, Sanaim Sudhar, G Raman, Ms. Kumar, Kumar, Latha Echambadi and M. K. Arora.
The bodies of the deceased were airlifted by the Nepal Army chopper RAN 53 –MI8 to the Kathmandu-based TU Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj, for autopsies this afternoon.
The plane had left Pokhara airport at 9:30 am, said Yogendra Kunwar, assistant manager at the air traffic control in the Pokhara airport.
Six injured passengers who were safely rescued from the crash site were admitted at the Manipal Teaching Hospital in Pokhara.
The injured Danish nationals were identified as R. Andreas and T. Emilie.
Similarly, air hostess Hainju, two Indian minors Tirumala Kidambi
Sreevardhini,9, Tirumala Kidambi Sreepada, 6, and an Indian man Tirumala Kidambi Sreekanth were safely rescued.
According to a press statement of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), five of the injured passengers were to be discharged from the Manipal Hospital soon
Sreekanth was admitted at Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital, According to the doctors, his condition was out of danger.
The victims were airlifted by the Nepal
Army helicopter, Simrik Air helicopter and Tara Air plane to the Pokhara based hospital.
The airport officials suspected that the plane met the accident while going around the airport before landing.
The plane hit a mountain near the Jomsom airport, the officials said.
According to Devendra Khatri, an eye witness of the crash, the plane slipped 200 metres down the hill after its nose hit the hill. "The plane tried to go around the airport for landing from a low height and met the accident as the space was insufficient," Khatri said.
According to him, the plane arrived at the airport from some different place instead of its regular route.
Nose of the plane hit the soil of the hill.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai expressed his deep sorrow over the death of 15 passengers in the crash.
Issuing a press statement in Kathmandu, Premier Dr. Bhattarai wished for quick recovery of all those injured in the crash.
Dr. Bhattarai said that the local administration, police and Nepal Army were directed to carry out immediate rescue operation and arrange for the proper treatment of the injured.
He also urged all including the political parties, human rights activists and the media to continue their support to the government in its rescue efforts.
Meanwhile, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML issuing separate press releases expressed their condolence to the families of the deceased and wished recovery of the wounded passengers.
The Indian Embassy Kathmandu also issued a press statement confirming the killing of 13 Indian nationals in the crash.