Indians were among the 15 people killed when their 20-seater
aircraft slammed into a cliff in western Nepal Monday, less than
seven months after 10 Indian tourists were killed in an air
accident. Six people miraculously survived the crash.
The Agni Air plane, carrying 16 Indians and two Danish passengers
as well as three crew members, crashed in Jomsom, known for its
splendid mountain views and the starting point for major trekking
routes, at about 9.45 a.m. Monday.
Pramod Pandey, marketing director of Agni Air, confirmed that
there were 16 Indians on board the Dornier aircraft and that there
were six survivors.
Laxmi Raj Sharma, a district official, added that 15 bodies had
Pilot Prabhu Sharan Pathak and co-pilot J.D. Maharjan were among
the dead while the rest of the victims are Indians who were on a
pilgrimage to the famous Muktinath temple, sacred to both Hindus
and Buddhists, reported myrepublica.com.
The six survivors, comprising two children, an Indian, two Danes
and airhostess R. Haiju, were airlifted to Pokhara.
A photograph showed one of the Danish nationals being helped by
two security personnel.
The plane was flying from Pokhara, a major tourist destination, to
Jomsom, a distance of about 60 km.
Ramindra Chettri, Nepal Army spokesperson, told Xinhua that "a
Nepal Army MI-17 helicopter has flown to the crash site to bring
the bodies to the capital". The Jomsom airport, with the airstrip
carved out of the mountain, is about 200 km northwest of the
Nepalese capital Kathmandu. The pilot, experts said, have to
manouevre skillfully to land the plane in the treacherous mountain
The plane had taken off from Pokhara airport at 9.30 a.m. and
crashed 15 minutes later on a cliff, while it was about to return
to Pokhara following a technical glitch, Yogendra Kunwar,
assistant manager at the traffic control room in Pokhara airport,
was quoted as saying.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Gynanedra Singh Bhandari said
the plane crashed behind the army barracks, enabling a quick
He also said that police and army were conducting rescue
operations along with stand-by flights to carry the injured.
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai expressed sorrow over the death
of 15 people in the crash and wished for early recovery of the
Jomsom is the capital and administration headquarters of Mustang
district, which stretches from the Tibetan border to Ghasa along
the Kali Gandaki river.
The tragedy was a reminder of the Sep 25, 2011 crash in which all
19 people, mostly Indian tourists, were killed after a small plane
carrying them crashed close to capital city Kathmandu.
Agni Air, which began operations March 16, 2006 with one Dornier
Do-228 aircraft, is now operating six aircraft, three Dornier-228
Aircrafts built in German and three Jetstream-41 built in Britain
to various domestic sectors, its website said.
It flies to the popular tourist destinations such as Lukla,
Tumlingtar, Biratnagar, Bhadrapur, Bhairahawa, Pokhara and Jomsom.