A small passenger plane has crashed just south of Kathmandu today, killing everyone on board. The plane carried 14 people, including three crew members and 11 passengers, with four Americans, a Briton, and a Japanese traveler amongst them.
The plane was operated by Agni Air, and was making a routine flight to Lukla, most likely to drop off trekkers heading to the Everest region, but due to poor weather in the area, the flight was turned back. There is no word at this time as to the cause of the crash, but local villagers witnessed it going down in a field.
Having made this same flight just a few months ago, I can tell you that the airlines and flight control are all very careful about when and how you can approach Lukla. It is considered amongst the most dangerous airports in the world thanks to its sloping runway that runs up the side of the mountain. But in the case of this accident, it doesn’t seem to have been an issue at all considering that the plane never even had a chance to attempt a landing. Most likely there was rain or fog in the area, and the plane was ordered to return to Kathmandu, but why it went down is a mystery at this time.
We’re also right on the edge of the start of the fall climbing and trekking season, with travelers just now starting to return to the Himalaya following the monsoon season. The passengers on board this flight were probably on vacation and were looking forward to trekking in the Khumbu Valley over the next couple of weeks.
This is a sad story to start the day. My condolences to the families.
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