October 9, 2008

Nepal Plane Crash Cause Probed

Nepalese authorities say the 18 people killed in the crash of a Yeti Airlines twin-engine Otter plane included 12 German nationals and two Australians.

The plane, with 19 aboard, went down Wednesday after hitting a cliff and catching fire while approaching the Lukla airport near Mount Everest, CNN had reported earlier.

Nepalnews.com quoted officials at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, from where the plane had taken off, that only the pilot, Surendra Kunwar, survived. He was being treated at a Kathmandu hospital.

The others who died were believed to be two Nepalese passengers, the copilot and a stewardess.

Authorities said the bodies of the victims would be brought to Kathmandu.

The report said local residents put out the fire in two hours but the plane had been destroyed. The airline said it was foggy at the time of the crash.

A five-member government panel will investigate the cause of the accident.

Lukla is about 155 miles east of Kathmandu.

Most tourists fly into Lukla from where they go on trekking trips to the base camp of Everest located at about 15,700 feet up the 29,029-foot mountain. October is the peak tourist season in the Himalayan republic.