x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Thirteen Indian pilgrims killed in Nepal plane crash

A small plane crashed near in northern Nepal yesterday, killing 15 people including 13 Indian pilgrims while six others survived, police said.

KATHMANDU // A small plane crashed near in northern Nepal yesterday, killing 15 people including 13 Indian pilgrims while six others survived, police said.

The Agni Air aircraft ploughed into the ground just outside Jomsom airport, a gateway to the Annapurna mountain range, shortly after the pilot reported a fault.

"Fifteen people have been killed. Thirteen of them were Indian tourists and the other two were Nepali pilots," the police spokesman Binod Singh said.

He said there were six survivors, among them a Nepali air hostess, two India children and an Indian man who is being treated for head injuries.

The Danish foreign ministry in Copenhagen said two Danes had also been rescued and were being treated in the city of Pokhara, 60 kilometres from Jomsom.

Basanta Dawadi, of the Pokhara tourism council, said he had spoken to the pair, a man and woman in their early 30s who were both trekkers.

"They told me the plane was about to land and suddenly it ascended and its left wing hit something. The plane rolled and then plunged into the ground. The emergency door opened and they crawled out of the aircraft.

"They told me they lost consciousness and then they were rescued."

The man had foot injuries while the woman had a cut on her throat, Mr Dawadi said.

The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said two Indian children, 6 and 9, had been pulled out alive from the wreckage.

The Indian group had chartered the flight from Pokhara for a pilgrimage to Muktinath, a sacred place for Hindus and Buddhists at the foot of the Thorong La pass in the Himalayas, said Rajendra Singh, another police spokesman.

"A Nepal army barracks is near the accident site which made the rescue of survivors easier," he said.