Everest-bound Plane Crashes in Nepal, Killing 19

Posted September 28th, 2012 at 9:35 am (UTC-5)
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Authorities in Nepal say a plane crashed shortly after taking off Friday from the capital Kathmandu, killing all 19 people on board.

An airport official said the pilot notified air traffic controllers the small, twin-propeller plane had hit a large bird moments before it went down.

Aviation authorities say the Sita Air flight crashed on the banks of the Manohara river, where it burst into flames.

Police officials say seven British, five Chinese and four Nepalese passengers were among the dead. The plane's three Nepalese crew members were also killed in the crash.

The domestic flight was headed to Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest, the world's highest peak. Thousands of foreigners head to the Himalayan yearly for trekking trips.

Autumn is the peak season for climbing in Nepal, which has eight of the world's 14 highest mountains.

Friday's crash was the sixth fatal air accident in Nepal in the last two years and raised fresh questions about aviation safety in the country.

The plane went down just days after an avalanche killed at least eight foreigners on a Himalayan peak Sunday.