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UK team to probe plane crash

Air accident investigators from the UK will today begin a probe to learn the cause of a plane crash in Nepal which cost the lives of 19 passengers, including seven Britons.

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Nepal-based journalist recounts events of plane crash

Journalist Thomas Bell, who has been in Kathmandu, Nepal today, described to ITV News how the fatal plane crash reportedly occurred, after meeting with several eyewitnesses.

I visited the crash site, it's only about half a mile from the runway at Tribhuvan International Airport. What appears to have happened is that the plane took off shortly after 6am local time and according to the airline (Sita Air) one of the engines may have been taken out by a bird.

Although the people I've spoken to in the aviation industry today say that the Sita Air Dornier light aircraft has two engines, so it should have been able to land on one of them.

The plane was in distress and people on the ground and near the crash site said they saw flames coming from the plane. It was circling round, apparently trying to land again, when it crashed.

People rely on small planes to get around (in this country) and at least to the Everest region, which is where this plane was going. It's a very popular route for tourists who want to trek to Everest and it appears most of those on board were tourists on a trekking holiday in the Everest region.

There were crowds of people looking at the crash site when I was there earlier and it crashed very close to a slum, shanty town, which is very close to the airport here. The people there were rather shocked and it was a narrow miss for them and it landed only about 50 yards from their houses.

People would be right to worry about air safety in Nepal, potential visitors should be concerned, it's not really safe that's clear. There are these regular crashes and yet people keep coming. If you want to visit a place like Mount Everest then I'm afraid local safety standards are quite poor.

– Thomas Bell, journalist in Kathmandu

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