Nepal tourist plane crashes near Kathmandu

A small plane with 19 people on board, mostly foreign tourists, has crashed in Nepal, officials say.

They say the Buddha Air plane lost contact with the control tower near Kathmandu airport.

The plane was carrying 16 tourists to view Mount Everest and other peaks and was returning to the Nepalese capital. Three crew members were on board.

Most of the tourists were Indian nationals, reports say. It is unclear whether there were any survivors.

The Beechcraft-made aircraft lost contact with the control tower at 07:31 (02:46 GMT) local time.

Local TV stations reported that witnesses saw flames coming from the plane just before it went down in foggy weather in Godavari, several kilometres from Kathmandu.

"The plane was returning to Kathmandu from a mountain flight when it crashed," a rescue official was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that rescuers had already reached the crash site.

Unconfirmed reports say there were 10 Indian citizens on board the plane.

An airport official was quoted as saying that one person survived the crash but this has not been officially confirmed.

The cause of the crash is being investigated.

Aviation accidents involving small aircraft are not uncommon in mountainous Nepal.

Last December, all 22 people travelling in a small passenger plane were killed when it crashed east of Kathmandu.

In August 2010, a plane heading for the Everest region crashed in bad weather killing all 14 people on board, including four Americans, a Japanese national and a British national.


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