A Sita Air aircraft bound to Lukla from Kathmandu crashed on the bank of Manohara River in Bhaktapur on Friday morning, killing all19 people, including three crew members, on board.
According to deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Narayan Bastakoti of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), the most of the passengers include foreign nationals. The mishap occurred at around 6:20 am.
The Dornier 9NAHA615 , on a scheduled fight, met with the accident moments after it took off from the airport. A TIA official said the aircraft caught fire after being hit by a flying bird. TIA General Manager Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, however, said no cause has been confirmed yet.
Rescue workers including police, Nepal Army personnel and fire brigades, reached the incident site, some 50 meters away from the runway, immediately after the crash. However, It took 40 minutes for the firefighters to extinguish the fire.
The charred and severed bodies of the victims have been recovered from the wreckage of the aircraft.
According to Sita Air, among the dead passengers are seven Britons and five Chinese nationals and four Nepalis.
The airline also confirmed that the deceased Nepali passengers are L N Sharma, Ms. NK Tamang, D Rai and Kumar Magar. A Nepal Armyman, Magar had boarded the plane without the ticket.
The three crew members so far have been identified as Captain Bijaya Tandukar, Co-Captain T. Thapa and airhostess Roja Shakya.
According to police, the 12 foreign nationals dead in the incident so far identified are R Eagle, C Davey, V Kelly, T Dakksy, S Holding, B Ogden, K Ollnning Mingwu and Ms Woling.
Tulasa Pokharel, an eyewitness whose house is located meters away from the incident site, said she saw the plane with black smoke landing on an open space on the bank of the river.
“That time I could hear some people inside the plane wailing and screaming. When we went to inform the police and other locals about the incident and came back, there was just silence. We saw the plane burning and all of them dead,” she recounted.