A twin-engined aircraft crashed has shortly after takeoff from Kathmandu airport in Nepal, killing 19 people. Among the dead are seven British and five Chinese citizens.
Only the recovered flight recorder will be able to shed any light on the accident, as the propeller-driven Dornier aircraft, owned by private airline Sita Air took off in fine weather only to almost immediately crash in a nearby field.
Autumn is the peak tourist season for the landlocked Himalayan country, which has eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, attracting trekkers and climbers. At least 11 people died in a huge avalanche in northwest Nepal last Sunday. In May another air crash claimed 15 lives.
There has been speculation the pilot may have been attempting an emergency landing after fire broke out onboard, another report spoke of a bird hitting one of the plane’s engines. The aircraft was heading for Lukla near Mount Everest. Seven Nepalis also died, three crew and four passengers.
The crash was the sixth fatal air accident in less than two years in Nepal, where more than a dozen small private carriers often brave bad weather to fly to mountain areas served by no proper road network.
Tourism officials said the latest incident could deter foreign tourists from embarking on treks in Nepal. Many of the dead were trekkers.