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Nineteen people have been killed in a passenger jet crash near Kathmandu airport.
Nineteen people have been killed in a passenger jet crash near Kathmandu airport.
Troops roll over the remains of the plane Courtesy: Reuters
A Sita Air Dornier aircrft carrying 16 passengers and three crew crashed minutes after takeoff around 6.30am (1045 AEST) on Friday, police spokesman Binod Singh told AFP.
The officer said the aircraft was bound for Lukla, a small town in northeastern Nepal which serves as the gateway to Everest. Later reports suggest the accident was the result of a birdstrike shortly after takoff.
"All 19 passengers on the Sita Air plane have died. The accident site is less than one kilometre from the airport," he said. The pilots seem to have tried to land it safely on the banks of the river but unfortunately the plane caught fire."
Troops were racing to the crash site to bring the blaze under control, said Nepalese army spokesman Ramindra Chhetri. The nationality of the passengers was not immediately clear.
AP are reporting thirteen people on board were foreigners, while three passengers and the three crew members were from Nepal, Katmandu airport chief Narayan Bastakoti..
Reuters are reporting: The plane was heading east towards Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest and a popular destination for trekkers. Witnesses said it burst into flames and came down in a field, reports said.
A spokeswoman for the FCO said: "We understand that British nationals may be involved, and we are urgently seeking to confirm what has happened. Our embassy in Kathmandu is talking to the airline and local authorities to find out whether Britons were involved."
The latest fatal crash in Nepal - the sixth in less than two years - could potentially lead to new scrutiny of the country's numerous small airlines, which provide vital links to remote
parts of the country.
Aircraft and pilots often have to contend with bad weather and difficult landing strips in the Himalayan nation.
The weather on Friday was reportedly clear.
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