Probe into cause of Nepal air crash begins

Air accident investigators from the UK flew to the Himalayan country yesterday to uncover the cause of the accident Photo: ITV Central

Investigations into the plane crash in Nepal which left 19 passengers dead, including two who were from the Midlands is thought to have begun today.

Air accident investigators from the UK flew to the Himalayan country yesterday to uncover the cause of the accident which left everyone on board dead.

Chris Davey from Moulton, Northamptonshire died in the Nepal air crash Credit: ITV Central

Christopher Davey, 51-years-old from Moulton, near Northampton and Stephen Holding, 60-years-old from Stoke-on-Trent died when the Dornier twin-engine propeller plane crashed two minutes after take-off from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport on Friday.

Initial reports suggested birds flying into the plane could be to blame for the tragedy but the Nepalese aviation ministry is reported to have said it believes pilot error may lay behind the tragedy.

Stephen Holding, who was 60, died in the crash near Kathmandu Credit: ITV Central

The two British Midlanders killed were part of a British group, who arrived in Nepal on Wednesday and were due to begin Trekking in the Himalayas on Friday.

The wife of Mr Holding, a retired teacher, who died in the crash, said:

"Steve always loved being in the mountains.

"He had done a lot of work with Peak Pursuits taking youngsters on Duke of Edinburgh activities."

– Maggie Holding

The plane, belonging to Nepal's domestic airline Sita Air, crashed at around 6.15am local time.

It was heading east towards Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest and a popular destination for trekkers.

Five Chinese people, three Nepalese passengers and four crew members were also killed.

The pilot reported trouble two minutes after take-off, and Tribhuvan International Airport official Ratish Chandra Suman said the plane appeared to have been trying to turn back to the airport.

Witnesses said they heard screaming coming from inside the plane before it crashed into a field and said it was already on fire before it hit the ground.

Explore Worldwide, the company the victims were travelling through, said yesterday that a representative had arrived in Nepal to provide support to staff and other tour groups in the country.

The Foreign Office declined to comment on when the bodies of the seven Britons might be returned to the United Kingdom.

It is also almost a year to the day since another plane crash in Nepal that killed all 19 people on board, although none was British.