Five seriously injured in Nepal plane crash

A small plane carrying 18 passengers skidded off the runway of a high-altitude airport on Thursday and plunged into a river in northwestern Nepal seriously injuring five, a police spokesman said.

The government-run Nepal Airlines Twin Otter aircraft crashed into Kali Gandaki river in the Annapurna mountain range, police spokesman Keshav Adhikari said, adding that all on board were injured.

"At 8:30 am (0245 GMT) the plane was landing at the Jomsom airport in Mustang district when its brakes failed. Half of the aircraft's body is in the water and the other half is on the river bank," Adhikari told AFP.

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"Five people including a pilot have been seriously injured. They are being airlifted to Pokhara for further treatment," he said.

Adhikari said the passengers might be tourists in transit from Pokhara to Muktinath, a sacred place for Hindus and Buddhists at the foot of the Thorong La Himalayan mountain pass.

Nepal has a poor road network and large numbers of tourists, pilgrims and professional climbers often rely on the country's 16 domestic airlines and 49 airports to reach remote areas.

Last year a passenger plane crashed at the same airport, killing 15 including 13 Indian tourists. Six miraculously survived the crash.

Inexperienced pilots, poor management and ineffective rules are endangering air travellers' lives in Nepal, aviation experts have warned after recent fatal accidents.

© 2013 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: May 16, 2013