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Plane crashes while trying to land at Nepal airstrip; 21 injured


Kathmandu: A plane crashed while trying to land at a mountain airstrip in northern Nepal early Thursday, and all 21 people on board, including eight Japanese tourists, survived with injuries, police said.

Four of the injured were in critical condition, police officer Bhim Bahadur Chand said.

The state-owned Nepal Airlines plane was carrying eight Japanese tourists. The others on board, including three crew members, are all Nepali.

The Canadian-built Twin Otter plane was trying to land at Jomsom airport, some 200 kilometers northwest of the capital, Kathmandu, when it crashed on the banks of the Kaligandaki river.

All of the injured were flown in different planes to the nearby city of Pokhara, where there are better-equipped hospitals.

Police said the wheel of the plane touched the runway but that the aircraft veered toward the right and crashed on the banks of the Kaligandaki. The front portion of the plane was destroyed, but the rear part remained intact. The left wing remained submerged in the river.

Rescuers were able to pull the injured passengers and crew from the plane.

Civil aviation officials identified the Japanese passengers as Namba Hajime, Sato Setsuko, Terada Etsuko, Kawabe Sachiyo, Yazawa Yaeko, Yazawa Hiromi, Kawakami Hiroko and Abe Akiko. Other details about the Japanese passengers were not immediately known.

The area is popular with foreign trekkers visiting the Mount Annapurna area and Hindu pilgrims visiting the revered Muktinath temple.

Fifteen people were killed last May when a plane crashed while attempting to land at the same airport.

Source: Montreal Gazette-16 May, 2013

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