Tuesday, May 15, 2012

6 survive, 15 killed as plane hits Nepal mountain

Santosh Pokharal / Reuters

Flight attendant Roshni Saiju is brought to hospital for treatment after being rescued.

By msnbc.com staff and news services

KATMANDU, Nepal -- A plane crashed into a mountain in the Himalayas while trying to land at an airport in northern Nepal on Monday, killing 15 people and critically injuring six.

The plane hit a mountain while it was turning around to land at Jomsom Airport, said Laxmi Raj Sharma, chief government administrator in the area. The wrecked aircraft was in pieces but did not catch fire.

Sharma said initial investigations show that the plane might have suffered technical problems. The airport is at?8,800 feet elevation, where flying is more difficult.

Umesh Pun / AFP - Getty Images

A survivor looks on after receiving medical attention at a hospital in Pokhara, Nepal.

'Hit a muddy slope'
Sharma said survivors were flown to the nearby city of Pokhara for treatment.

Police?official?Binod Singh told AFP that the plane?"hit a muddy slope and the plane is now buried in the side of the hill."

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai issued a statement expressing condolences at the deaths of the 15 people.

Police official Nareswor Aryal the plane carried two pilots and a flight attendant -- all Nepalese -- along with 16 Indians and two Westerners. Aryal couldn't immediately say where the Westerners are from. However, AFP reported that two Danish nationals were among the passengers.

The airport is a gateway to a popular destination for trekkers and for Hindu pilgrims on their way to the revered Muktinath temple. It is about 125 miles northwest of the capital, Katmandu.

The Dornier aircraft belonged to the local Agni Air company.

The Associated Press and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

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