13 Indians among 15 killed in Nepal plane crash

FP

Thirteen Indian pilgrims were among 15 persons killed today when a small Dornier plane with 21 people on board crashed into a hilltop in northern Nepal, along the border with China, while attempting to land at a high-altitude airport.

Among the survivors were three Indians, two Danish nationals and a Nepali airhostess. The two other crew members were among those killed. According to some news websites, child actor Taruni Sachdev, who acted in Paa and many commercials, was also killed in the crash.

The Dornier 9N AIG aircraft belonging to private carrier Agni Air crashed at Jomsom at around 9:30 am local time, 25 minutes after it took off from Pokhara. Jomsom is the headquarters of Mustant district and houses the famous Muktinath temple as well as many monastaries. The passengers had chartered the flight to go to Muktinath.

"We are not able to confirm the cause of accident at this stage, and we will fully cooperate with the Civil Aviation Ministry in its inquiry," Agni Air said. Officials said they were looking at the possibility of a technical fault.

The Indian survivors have been identified as Tirumala Kidambi Srikanth, 36, a resident of Chennai, and his daughters, Srivardhini, 9, and Sripradha, 6. Srikanth's wife, Latha, 35, and a priest from Kumbakonam were among those killed. While Srikanth is reported to have suffered head injury, the girls escaped with minor injuries.

Today's accident comes nearly eight months after 10 Indians died in another air disaster in Nepal.

— With ENS, Chennai

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