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Sep 28, 2012 at 12:44pm IST

Nepal: Sita Air plane crashes near Kathmandu, all 19 on board dead

Kathmandu: A plane en route to Lukla in Nepal's Mount Everest region with 19 people on board crashed on the outskirts of Kathmandu on Friday, reportedly killing all 19 people on board.

The Sita Air twin-engine propeller plane crashed near the Manohara River on the southwest edge of the Nepalese capital two hours after it took off from the Tribhuvan International Airport. While the are is thickly populated, the plane crashed on the bank of the Manohara River, which was not as thickly populated.

Out of the 19 people on board, four crew members of the plane were Nepalese, three of whom were identified as Captain Bijaya Tandukar, co-Pilot Takeshi Thapa and air hostess Ruja Shakya. Seven passengers were British, five were Chinese, while the remaining three passengers were from Nepal, Kathmandu airport police chief Narayan Bastakoti said. The Indian embassy has confirmed that there were no Indians on board the plane.

TFirefighters brought the fire in the wreckage under control and police rescuers were trying to pull out the bodies, Bastakoti said.

The plane was heading for Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest. Thousands of Westerners make treks in the region around the world's highest peak each year. Autumn is considered the best time to trek the foothills of the Himalayan peaks.

The crash follows an avalanche on another Nepal peak Sunday that killed seven foreign climbers and a Nepali guide.

(With additional information from Associated Press)

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