13 Indian nationals, two crew members among dead • Condition of one injured critical
Pokhara, May 14
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.