Twin-engine Sita Air flight carrying 19 crashes near Nepalese capital
A twin-engine Sita Air flight that had just taken off from the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, carrying 19 people in the direction of Mount Everest, has crashed killing everyone on board. The accident occurred at dawn this morning, shortly after take-off. Investigators are looking into what may have caused the crash but there is speculation it may have been a bird strike. Witnesses saw flames from one of the wings of the Dornier Fairchild 228 as the pilots appeared to be trying to return to the runway or land on the bank of a river.
Seven British nationals, five Chinese and seven Nepalese died in the crash. Three of the Nepalese were crew members. The tourists are believed to have been mountain climbers on their way to an Everest base camp via the town of Lukla.
One witness among the first on the scene said, “We could hear people inside the aircraft screaming, but we couldn’t throw water at the plane to put out the fire because we were scared the engines were about to explode.”
Nepal is no stranger to fatal accidents involving light aircraft carrying tourists, with several occurring in the last couple of years. Autumn is peak climbing season in Nepal.
[pictured: Mount Everest; photo by Pavel Novak]