A small aircraft owned by Agni Air crashed in Makawanpur, southwest of Kathmandu, early in the morning on August 24 (Tuesday), 2010, killing all 14 people on board. Six foreigners, five Nepali and three crew members have been killed in the misfortune, eyewitnesses confirmed. The deceased crew members have been identified as Captain Laxman Prakash Bikram Shah, Co-Pilot Sofia Singh and Air Hostess Sarah Sherpa. Five deceased passengers have been identified as Ishwor Rijal, Prakash Amgain, K. Rai, P. Bhote and P. Sherpa, Police Spokesperson Beegyan Raj Sharma informed. Four Americans, one British and one Japanese national are among the deceased foreigners, he added. The ill-starred Dornier plane was en route to the Capital from Lukla airport near the Mount Everest. The exact cause of the accident is not known, but officials suspect bad weather could have led to the crash. However, sources have informed that Pilot Shah had contacted the control unit at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and reported an engine failure before the mishap. Locals of Makawanpur told Radio Kantipur that the plane crashed into a field in Shikharpur village, which lies south west of Kathmandu. “The plane remains broken into pieces in the field right next to a school building,” Pratap Lama, a local said. “The human bodies also remain in pieces … we are just shocked.” He added, “There was no big noise or any fire that we noticed before the crash.” Meanwhile, a Nepal Army team from Phaparbari and a police team from Hattisude have been deployed in the incident site for rescue purposes. Rescue teams have left for the accident spot from the Capital as well. The weather of Kathmandu valley had worsened in the wee hours of Tuesday, with torrential rains lashing and thick clouds and fogs blanketing the surrounding hills — clearly affecting the visibility for flights.
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Anil Giri serves as Kathmandu Correspondent for The Seoul Times.As a journalist he has worked for such news media as Annapurna Post, BBC, and Himalayan Times for years. He finished his both undergrad Economics degree and his MA degree in English Literature at Tribhuvan Univ., Kathmandu. He also holds a diploma in Development Journalism from prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication-IIMC, New Delhi, India.
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