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15 killed in Agni Air crash in Jomsom‚ six survive

  • 13 Indian nationals‚ two crew members among dead • Condition of one injured critical

RUP NARAYAN DHAKAL

POKHARA: An Agni Air plane carrying 21 people crashed near Jomsom Airport today, leaving 15 dead.

The 9N AIG Dornier plane hit a hillside near Marfa, minutes before it would have landed, at 9:46am, 16 minutes after it had taken off from Pokhara. The right wing of the plane hit the hillside while the pilot was trying to redirect the plane to Pokhara again after detecting a technical fault in the plane.

Six people miraculously survived the crash and were rescued by Nepali Army personnel. According to Mustang District Administration Office, 13 Indian nationals along with Captain Prabhu Sharan Pathak and Co-pilot SD Maharjan were killed. Eleven died on the spot while four succumbed to injuries while being treated at a hospital in Jomsom. The six injured, who were airlifted to Pokhara, are being treated at Manipal Teaching Hospital. Among the injured, three are Indian nationals, two Danes and air hostess Roshani Haiju. Condition of an Indian national, who is in ICU, is said to be critical. The Indian nationals were travelling to Jomsom for a pilgrimage to Muktinath, a sacred site for pilgrims.

Mustang CDO Laxmiraj Gautam said a Tara air plane and a chopper airlifted the injured to Pokhara after the crash. Just before the crash, the pilot had briefed Pokhara Airport that he was diverting the plane to Pokhara as he had detected some technical fault. The plane though ploughed into the hill, it did not catch fire, giving just about enough time for the survivors to escape.

Jomsom Airport, at an elevation of 8,880 feet (2,707 metres), is a treacherous high-altitude airfield and is considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous airstrips with mountainous terrain on the approach.

It was second deadly crash for Agni Air in less than two years. In August 2010, an Agni Air plane crashed in Shikharpur VDC of Makwanpur, killing all 14 people on board.


India saddened

KATHMANDU: India’s Minister for External Affairs SM Krishna on Monday said he was deeply saddened by the tragic air crash that left 15 people dead, including 13 Indian nationals, and six injured near Jomsom Airport. “I am deeply saddened to hear about the tragic air crash... I would like to convey my deep condolences to the families of all those who have lost their lives in this accident,” said Krishna in a statement. He also consoled the families of those who were killed in the crash. The government of Nepal had informed the Embassy of India in Kathmandu about the Indian nationals travelling in the plane immediately after the crash. In a statement issued in the afternoon, the Indian embassy said three of those who survived the crash were Indians.


Casualties

Dead

• Mr K Mamanya (India)

• Mr S K Arora (India)

• Mr M Handa (India)

• Mrs M Arora (India)

• Ms R Handa (India)

• Mr K Arora (India)

• Ms T Sachdev (India)

• Ms G Sachdev (India)

• Mr Sanaim Sudhar (India)

• Mr G Raman (India)

• MS Latha Echambade (India)

• Mr Kumar (India)

• Mrs Kumar (India)

• Mr Prabhu Saran Pathak, Pilot (Nepal)

• Mr SD Maharjan, Co-pilot (Nepal)

Injured

• Ms Roshni Haiju, 32, Air Hostess (Nepal)

• Mr Andreas R, 30, (Denmark)

• Mrs Emily J, 29, (Denmark)

• Mr Tirumala Kidambi Sreekanth, 32, (India)

• Ms Tirumala Kidambi Sreevardhini, 9, (India)

• Ms Tirumala Kidambi Sreepada, 6, (India)


Sky safety in question again

KATHMANDU: With Monday’s crash in Jomsom, the question once again is being asked: “How safe are our skies?” “We are not in a position to say everything is fine,” said Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, General Manager, Tribhuvan International Airport. “As far as this (Jomsom) crash is concerned, it is still not clear whether it was due to a technical glitch or human error,” he said. Aviation experts said, albeit evasively, that the person in command of the aircraft should not have taken the turn in a hurry. “If the landing gear had failed, the plane should have been given ample flight to reach the Kagbeni Valley before it was diverted to Pokhara. But it appears the aircraft was given a sharp turn in the Mustang Valley where such maneuvering is not possible given the mountainous terrain,” said Kumar Chalise, an aviation expert. “Pilots are trained to cope with emergency situation. They must go by the book.”

Comments4

Clearly a ridiculous carelessness. Nirata Thapa, HongKong

Recentlyour family visitednepal nepal very beautiful llace on this earth.but the planes and the mountaneous terrains are highly dangerous.tra el agency sbould breif the people about the risk involved jeyashree, uae

Airlines should not cut corners with safety. There are never accidents like this in the mountainous areas of Europe. Why don't the managing directors of Nepalese companies look at what the standards are in Europe and copy them. It is not funny to mess around with peoples lives. On the Agni Air website they boast of 3 years of no accidents but they have been operating since 2006. That is really bad. Airlines in the west have gone 30 years with no accidents. This is not due to money it is due to rules and regulations being in place. Even if the government do not place rules Agni as an airline should aim to be better not make more money for the people in charge. Labour is much cheaper in Nepal than Europe. Train people who need a job and take more care in your planes! David Brady, England

passengers life are at stake, old and out dated plane should be grounded. sarad shresrha, patan

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