Seven British tourists killed in Nepal plane crash

The aftermath of today's crash in Kathmandu. Credit: Stringer/Reuters

Tributes have poured in for the seven British men who were among 19 people who died in a Nepal plane crash today.

The men were identified by local travel company Sherpa Adventures as Raymond Eagle, 58, Christopher Davey, 51, Vincent Kelly, 50, Darren Kelly, 45, Timothy Oakes, 57, Stephen Holding, 60, and Benjamin Ogden, 27.

The men were killed when a twin-engine propeller Dornier plane crashed shortly after take-off at about 6:15am local time, landing in a field near the capital, Kathmandu.

Five Chinese people, three Nepalese passengers and four crew members were also killed, with reports suggesting the accident was caused by a bird strike.

The British group, who arrived in Nepal on Wednesday and were due to begin trekking today, were travelling with Hampshire-based travel company Explore Worldwide.

The wife of Timothy Oakes, Angie Gaunt, said she hopes his death doesn't "deter people" from taking adventurous trips.

Vincent Kelly was a long standing supporter of Bolton Lads & Girls Club Board, fellow club member and Mr Kelly’s friend of over 25 years, Mark Brocklehurst, said

Vincent Kelly (left) and Mark Brocklehurst (right) at the end of the JOGLE8 challenge in aid of Bolton Lads & Girls Club Credit Credit: Bolton Lads & Girls Club

The British group, who arrived in Nepal on Wednesday and were due to begin trekking today, were travelling with Hampshire-based travel company Explore Worldwide.

Mr Toft said the plane belonged to Nepal's domestic airline Sita Air, which is approved by airline authorities.

He added: "The weather was good. The plane was departing for Lukla and our passengers were heading for Everest Base Camp at the start of their trek.

"We have no more information at present."

He said the company was sending a representative to Nepal and she would arrive in the country tomorrow.

Tribhuvan International Airport (right) where the plane began its journey. Credit: Google Maps

The plane was heading east towards Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest and a popular destination for trekkers, when it crashed near the Manohara River to the south west of the city.

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.

Rescue team members work at the site where a Dornier aircraft crashed in Kathmandu, Nepal. Credit: Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

Harimaya Tamang, who lives near the crash site, said: "We thought the pilot was trying to force land because it was on fire and the river area had open space to land.

"The plane hit the ground, bounced once but it did not break. The plane was already on fire, the local people rushed with buckets and tried to put out the flames but it was too hot and people could not get close enough."

The crash site in Nepal. Credit: Stringer/Reuters

Footage taken by witnesses using mobile phones showed the front section of the plane was on fire when it hit the ground, and that it appeared the pilot had attempted to land the plane on open ground beside a river.

The fire quickly spread to the rear, but the tail was still in one piece at the crash site, reported to be near a slum about 500m from Kathmandu's Tribhuwan International Airport.

A woman cries at the crash site in Kathmandu. Credit: Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

Villagers were unable to approach the plane because of the fire and it took some time for firefighters to reach the area and bring the blaze under control.

Soldiers and police sifted through the crash wreckage looking for bodies and documents to help identify the victims.

People watch the burning wreckage. Credit: Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

Thousands of Westerners head to the Himalayas every year to trek in the region around Mt Everest, the world's highest peak.

Autumn is considered the best time to trek in the area.

The fire is extinguished by rescue teams. Credit: Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

The Foreign Office has set up a helpline for concerned relatives on 0207 008 1500.