14 Dead in Plane Crash Near Kathmandu

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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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7 thoughts on “14 Dead in Plane Crash Near Kathmandu”

  1. I did this flight about two months ago now – we landed in weather where we weren't meant to but the pilot went for it anyway at Lukla. The weather turns so quickly making flying so dangerous. It took us 2 or 3 days to get out of Lukla after our trek as the weather was so bad.

    My thoughts are with the families of the dead; it will remind people of exactly how risky even the flight to the region is, let alone how risky climbing in the region is.

  2. I agree Tom. I did the flight back in April, and even on a clear day it was unnerving to watch the approach to Lukla. Totally worth it once you're on the ground, but until you get there, it's an interesting ride to say the least.

  3. I was in Lukla during that time… we took a helicopter to leave this town three days before, on the 21st, but never got up in the air because of the bad weather. When we heard the news on the 24th, we were stuck in Lamindanda, a small village south of Lukla. The rush of going back to Kathmandu just disappeared…

  4. It is a tragic accident. This is what scares me from flying in small planes. My deepest condolences to the families of the deceased.

  5. Definitely not a nice occurrence and to think the folks on the plane were likely setting out for one of the biggest adventures of their lives.

  6. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. I'd suggest to that their families look into http://www.deathletters.org. The grieving process is a long and painful one but knowing someone is going through the same thing gets it a little less difficult.

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