A Sita Air Dornier aircraft hit a bird and crashed just after takeoff today, killing 19 people on board.
The 9N-AHA (D228) plane heading for Lukla of Solukhumbu, the gateway to Mt Everest, crashed near the Manohara River, 500 metres from country's only international airport, at around 6:18am.
Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, General Manager, Tribhuvan International Airport, confirmed the death of all on board — seven Nepalis, including three crew members, seven Britons and five Chinese — in the second fatal air crash in Nepal in five months, sixth in the last two years.
Citing preliminary investigation report, Suman said Captain Bijay Tandukar had reported hitting an eagle just after takeoff as the air traffic control room sought response after noticing the plane making unusual maneuvers. "The pilot, it appears, had struggled to escape the settlement and divert the plane towards TIA before the plane went down," said Suman.