Pilot error 'likely cause' of Nepal plane crash

Roshina Jowaheer
Pilot error 'likely cause' of Nepal plane crash
Pilot error 'likely cause' of Nepal plane crash


A plane crash in Nepal on Friday morning which killed all 19 people on board, including seven Britons, was probably caused by a pilot error, officials have said.

Sky News reports that authorities say the plane came down after the pilot turned too sharply without gaining enough altitude after a bird strike.

The aircraft was taking trekkers from the capital Kathmandu to the town of Lukla and on to a Mount Everest expedition before it came down shortly after take-off.

It was first claimed that the pilot of the twin-propeller Sita Air plane had reported hitting a bird, thought to be a vulture or kite, before the crash which was likely to be the cause of the tragedy, but aviation ministry official Suresh Acharya said the pilot turned too sharply to get back to the airport following the bird strike.

He said: 'The pilot's failure to maintain the required radius is a likely cause of the accident.'

'A plane crash does not occur simply just because its engine was hit by a bird.'

Kathmandu's airport said the plane's right engine burst into flames after being hit by a large bird and slammed into a river bank moments later, causing it to explode into a huge fireball.

Footage of the crash showed the front section of the plane on fire when it hit the ground and it appeared the pilot had attempted to land on open ground next to the river. The fire quickly spread to the back of the plane, but the tail was still in one piece at the crash site.

According to Sky News, police have handed over the plane's black box data recorder to authorities investigating the disaster.

'We have taken out the data recorder and handed it over to the civil aviation authorities. The rescue work at the site has ended,' police spokesman Binod Singh said.

The seven Britons killed were due to begin a trek towards Everest Base Camp today on an expedition scheduled to last until mid-October with English company Explore Worldwide, which uses local guides from Sherpa Adventures.

Explore Worldwide, based in Farnborough, said that all seven victims had organised the trip through them.

Sherpa Adventures said the British victims were Raymond Eagle, 58, Christopher Davey, 51, Vincent Kelly, 50, Darren Kelly, 45, Timothy Oakes, 57, Stephen Holding, 60, and Benjamin Ogden, 27.

The Foreign Office said their families had been informed.

Other passengers killed in the crash were five Chinese and seven people from the Himalayan country, including the Nepalese tour guide.

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