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19 die in Buddha Air crash at Nepal airport

Sept. 27, 2011, Katmandu, Nepal - A plane returning from a sightseeing tour of Mount Everest crashed while attempting to land in Nepal on Sunday, killing all 19 people on board, including 13 foreigners, officials said.


September 27, 2011
Carey Fredericks

Ten Indians, two Americans and one Japanese were among the victims, Tourism Secretary Ganeshraj Joshi said.

The turboprop plane belonging to Buddha Air was also carrying three
Nepalese passengers and three crew members when it crashed in
Bisankunarayan village, just a few kilometres south of the capital,
Kathmandu.

A witness, Haribol Poudel, told Avenues Television that the plane hit
the roof of a house in the village and broke into several pieces. No
casualties were reported on the ground.

Rewant Kuwar, an official at Kathmandu's international airport rescue
office, said 18 bodies were pulled out of the plane's wreckage, and
another victim died after being rushed to a hospital.

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The Beechcraft 1900D plane — manufactured by Raytheon Aircraft, now
known as Hawker Beechcraft — had taken the passengers on a one-hour
"mountain flight'' and was returning to Kathmandu.

The government has ordered an investigation into the crash.

The weather Sunday morning was foggy and the visibility was poor around
Kathmandu, according to meteorologist Rajendra Shrestha. The surrounding
mountains were enveloped in fog and it was raining at the time of the
crash.

The bodies were flown by army helicopter to Kathmandu airport and
transported to the Tribhuwan University Teaching Hospital for
post-mortems.

Relatives of the Nepalese victims waited outside the hospital to claim
the bodies, but were told by police that they would only be able to do
so Monday. Most Nepalese believe that people have to be cremated within a
day of their deaths.

Officials from the Indian and U.S. embassies visited the hospital but did not speak to media.