Kathmandu, Nepal — A plane has crashed just minutes after taking off from Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, with authorities confirming all 19 people on board were killed in the tragedy.
The twin-engine prop plane, which belonged to domestic flight company Sita Air, contained seven Britons and five Chinese citizens. Sameer Neupane, an official at Sita Air, confirmed the four other passengers and three crew members were from Nepal.
The aircraft was transporting trekkers into the Everest region when it crashed onto open ground near the Manohara River on the southwest edge of Kathmandu. Weather conditions were reportedly clear at the time of the crash.
The plane was one its way to Lukla, said to be the gateway to Mount Everest. The region is popular with Westerners, who go to the base of the world’s highest peak for annual trekking trips. Autumn is regarded as the best time to trek the Himalayan foothills.
Firefighters were quickly on the scene of the crash to bring the fire in the plane’s remains under control. They were joined by police rescuers, who helped to remove bodies from the wreckage, Kathmandu airport chief Narayan Bastakoti said.
This is the second disaster to have struck Nepal in recent days: last Saturday, an avalanche in the country claimed the lives of at least nine climbers, including their Nepali guide, on one of the world’s most deadly peaks. At least six more climbers are still missing.