Eleven Indian pilgrims were among 15 people killed when a private plane crashed in northern Nepal on Monday after hitting a hilltop while trying to land at the high-altitude Jomsom airport.
The Dornier aircraft belonging to Agni Air went down when it hit the top of a hill while landing at the Jomsom airport in northern Nepal, said an official at the Rescue Coordination Committee of Tribhuvan International Airport.
“Eleven Indian nationals, two Danish nationals and two Nepalese crew members were killed in the crash,” the official said, adding rescuers have so far recovered nine bodies from the wreckage.
Six people on board, including a crew member and five Indians, have been rescued alive from the crash site, he said.
The injured people were taken to a hospital in Pokhara where the condition of the three Indians was critical.
There were a total of 18 passengers including 16 Indians and three Nepali crew members in the ill-fated aircraft.
The aircraft was heading towards Jomsom in the morning from Pokhara when it hit the hill, the official said, adding that there are possibilities of a technical fault.
The passengers had chartered the flight to take them from the central tourist hub of Pokhara to Muktinath, a famous Hindu pilgrimage in Jomsom near the Tibetan border at the foot of the Thorong La Himalayan mountain pass, the official said.
The high-altitude Jomsom airport, about 200 km. northwest of the Nepalese capital, is a gateway to a popular tourism and trekking destination situated more than 2,600 meters above sea level.
The plane turned into pieces but did not catch fire. The bodies of Pilot Prabhu Sharan Pathak and co-pilot J.D. Mahajan have been recovered.