Kathmandu: Thirteen Indians were among the 14 people killed as a Dornier plane crashed in the mountainous northern region of Nepal on Monday. Reports said that there were 16 Indians among the 18 passengers on board the plane. The plane belongs to local airline company Agni Air.
Marketing and Administration Director of Agni Air Pramod Pandey said that there were 16 Indians on board. Police official Nareswor Aryal also said 16 people are Indian and two passengers are Westerners. Three Indians survived the plane crash.
Pilot PS Pathak and co-pilot SD Maharjan died on the spot.
Survivors in critical condition were flown by helicopter to the nearby city of Pokhara for treatment, said Laxmi Raj Sharma, chief government administrator in the area.
The local Police said that the plane crashed on Monday morning while trying to land at the Jomsom Airport.
Pramod Pandey issued a statement saying, "The crash happened at 9:45 am Nepal time. There were 18 passengers and three crew members were on board members. A rescue team has been sent. There are no details on the condition of the passengers."
The police and soldiers rushed to the spot. The wrecked aircraft was in pieces but did not catch fire.
External Affairs Minister Sm Krishna issued a statement on the crash saying, "I am deeply saddened to hear about the tragic air crash that occurred earlier this morning near Jomsom airport in Nepal.I would like to convey my deep condolences to the families of all those who have lost their lives in this accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all those who have lost their near and dear ones. I hope that the Almighty will grant them strength to bear their loss with fortitude."
The Jomsom Airport is a gateway to a popular tourist and trekking destination. It is about 200 kilometers (125 miles) northwest of the capital, Kathmandu.
The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu has set up helplines to provide information on the plane crash. The numbers are: 0097714423702 and 0097714410900/Ext 4109.
List of Indian passengers on board the Agni Air plane that crashed: K Mamanya, SK Arora, M Handa, M Arora, R Handa, K Arora, T Sachdev, G Sachdev, Sanaim Sudhar, G Raman, Kidambi Tirumala, Latha Echambade, Sreeva Kidambi Tirumala, Sreepada Kidambi Tirumala, Mr Kumar and Mrs Kumar.
(With additional information from AP and PTI)