Thirteen Indian pilgrims were among 15 persons killed today when a small Dornier plane with 21 people on board crashed into a hill top in northern Nepal,along the border with China,while attempting to land.
Among the survivors were three Indians,the two Danish nationals on board and a Nepali airhostess. The two other crew members were among those killed. Nine bodies had been recovered till Monday evening. The three Indians who survived,Tirumala Kidambi Shrikanth (40) and his children Shrivaadhani (9) and Shripad (6),are out of danger.
The Dornier 9N AIG aircraft belonging to private carrier Agni Air took off from Pokhara and crashed at a height of 9,000 ft when it was preparing to land at Jomsom,around 9.30 am local time. Officials suspect engine failure. The passengers had charted the flight to go to the famous Muktinath temple,located on the foot of the Thorong La Himalayan mountain pass.
While there are regular flights to Jomsom,the ride is bumpy on account of the narrow passageway through hills and wind currents. Agni Air marketing manager Pramod Pandey said they used only experienced pilots. The pilot flying this aircraft had a lot of flying hours, he added.
The 13 Indians killed were K Mahanya,S K Arora,M Handa,M Arora,R Handa,K O Arora,T Sachdev,G Sachdev,Saniam Sudhar,G Raman,Latha Echambadi,and a Mr Kumar and Ms Kumar.
The accident comes nearly eight months after 10 Indians died in an air disaster near here.