Nepal tourist plane crash kills all 14 on board

Wreckage from the site of the crash, 24 August 2010 The plane was reportedly called back because of bad weather

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A passenger plane has crashed into hills outside Nepal's capital in heavy rain, killing all 14 people on board.

The Agni Air plane went down near Shikharpur village, 80km (50 miles) south of Kathmandu.

The plane had been on its way to Lukla, a popular trekking destination in the Mount Everest region, but it had turned back because of bad weather.

Three crew and six Nepalese passengers died along with four Americans, a Briton and a Japanese national.

Eyewitness Pratap Lama told local radio his village was in shock.

"There are small pieces of the plane all over the field and you can see body parts," he said.

A crisis centre has been set up in Kathmandu airport to co-ordinate rescue efforts.

Map

Officials say they have now recovered the remains of six bodies and taken them to a hospital in the capital.

Heavy rain meant that helicopters were unable to reach the remote crash site for several hours.

The UK Foreign Office named the dead Briton as Jeremy Taylor, believed to be 30 years old, who had been living in South Africa.

The BBC's Joanna Jolly, in Kathmandu, says each year thousands of tourists fly to Lukla to begin the trek to Everest base camp.

But the airport is considered to have one of the most difficult landing strips in the world, and unpredictable mountain weather often adds to the danger, our correspondent says.

The 550m-long (1,800ft) sloping airstrip at Lukla is perched on a hillside some 2,800m above sea level, with a steep 700m drop at one end.

The area has experienced crashes before; 18 people, including 12 Germans, were killed when a small plane crashed in 2008 in Lukla.

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