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Nepal tourist plane crash kills 18

The plane was en route to the town of Pokhara in the western mountains of Nepal.
The plane was en route to the town of Pokhara in the western mountains of Nepal.  

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- A tourist plane has crashed in western Nepal, killing all 18 people on board police say.

Among those on board the Shangrila Air plane were 13 Germans, one Briton and one U.S. citizen along with three crewmembers.

Nine bodies have so far been recovered from the crash site, close to the town of Pokhara in the west of the country.

The plane, a Canadian-built Twin Otter aircraft, was on a scheduled flight from Jomsom in northern Nepal to Pokhara, according to a government spokesman.

Germany's Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer offered his condolences to the family.

"With great dismay I received the horrible news about the plane crash," he said Thursday morning. "Our thoughts are with the family of the victims."

The German federal agency for flight security BFU will send a team to Nepal to investigate the crash.

Wreckage from the plane has been found scattered near the village of Dopahar, about five kilometers (three miles) southeast of Pokhara.

The crash is the second to hit Nepal during the annual monsoon season that runs from June to September.

This year's monsoon has been particularly harsh with heavy rains triggering floods and landslides blamed for the deaths of more than 500 people.

Bad weather was reported in the area at the time of Thursday's crash and initially hampered the rescue effort.

However, it is not yet clear if weather conditions were a factor in the crash or if mechanical problems or human error might have played a role.

There has been no word of any distress signal from the aircraft before it went down.

More than a dozen private airlines operate in Nepal, providing visitors with a fast and relatively cheap means of traveling around the Himalayan kingdom.




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