Agni Air plane crashes in Mustang, killing 15 on board

KATHMANDU, May 14: A charted Agni Air plane en route from Pokhara to Jomsom in Mustang crashed on a hilltop some 100 meters north of the Jomsom airport on Monday morning, killing15 persons on board.

According to Laxmi Raj Sharma, the Mustang chief district officer, 15 bodies have been recovered. Among those killed are Pilot Prabhu Sharan Pathak and Co-pilot JD Maharjan. The rest of the victims are Indian nationals who were on a pilgrimage to the Muktinath temple.

The air hostess R Saiju and five other passengers, including three children and two foreigners, have been rescued alive. All the injured have been airlifted to Pokhara. Of the injured, three are receiving treatment at Manipal Hospital. Their conditions are said to be critical.

The plane 9N AIG had left Pokhara airport at 9:30 am and crashed fifteen minutes later on the cliff, while it was about to return to Pokhara following technical glitch, Yogendra Kunwar, assistant manager at traffic control room in Pokhara airport said.

Locals, police and Nepal Army personnel are engaged in rescue operation. CDO Sharma said the rescue works are being hampered due to strong winds in the crash site.MANOJ ADHIKARIrepublica

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