19 killed as plane crashes in Nepal
Updated: 2012-09-29 02:14
By Zhao Shengnan and Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)
19 killed as plane crashes in Nepal Shock, grief at deaths of 4 Chinese and 1 Chinese-American
The deaths of four Chinese nationals and one Chinese-American in a Nepal plane crash on Friday brought condolences from countless Chinese netizens.
The five victims were on their way from the Kathmandu airport to the small town of Lukla, a gateway to Mount Qomolangma, for a tour. The crash killed all 19 people on board, including seven Britons, four Nepalese passengers and three Nepalese crew members.
According to China's embassy in Nepal, the two men and three women were from two families. Their identities have been confirmed as Wu Qianming, Wu Lin, Wu Hua, Yang Zhihua and Yang Chen.
Yang Chen, a Beijing native in her 20s, was a big fan of traveling. Many Chinese netizens paid tribute to her on her micro blog on Sina Weibo, a popular micro-blogging website in China.
On Friday morning, the Dorneir Aircraft 9N-AHA of Sita Air crashed into the bank of the Manohara River near Kathmandu International Airport.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal said that preliminary investigations and the last communications with the crew members showed that the aircraft crashed after it struck a bird.
The pilot of the domestic Sita Air flight reported trouble two minutes after takeoff and appeared to have been trying to turn back, said Katmandu airport official Ratish Chandra Suman.
The crash site is only 500 meters from the airport, and the wrecked plane was pointing toward the airport area. Suman said the plane hit a vulture just after it took off, causing the crash.The Foreign Ministry on Friday offered condolences to the victims and their relatives, and asked Nepal to investigate the accident further.
The Chinese embassy in Nepal activated the emergency response mechanism, and diplomats rushed to the accident site, ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news conference.
Relatives of some of the victims have contacted the embassy.
"The accident could raise questions about safety and could definitely affect tourism to some extent in the country," Ang Tshering Sherpa, who runs the Asian Trekking agency, told Reuters.
This is the second tragedy to hit the country in less than a week. An avalanche killed at least 11 people, mostly foreigners, on a Himalayan peak on Sunday.
The crash happened also only four months after 15 people were killed on May 14 after a plane that was trying to land crashed in the north of the country.
Autumn is the peak tourism season in Nepal, which has about half of the world's 14 highest mountains.
Nepal receives more than half a million tourists every year, many of them Western hikers and climbers. Tourism accounts for 4 percent of an economy battered by a decade of civil war.
The country has a poor road network, and large numbers of tourists, pilgrims and professional climbers often rely on Nepal's 16 domestic airlines and 49 airports to reach remote areas, AFP said.
Aircraft and pilots often have to contend with bad weather and difficult landing strips in the Himalayan nation. There have been about 70 crashes in the 55-year history of Nepali aviation.
Xinhua and AP contributed to this story.
Contact the writers at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org