Kathmandu: Thirteen Indian pilgrims were among 15 people killed when a private plane crashed in northern Nepal on Monday after hitting a hill top while trying to land at high-altitude Jomsom airport.

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The Dornier aircraft belonging to the Agni Air went down when it hit the top of a hill while landing at the Jomsom airport in northern Nepal, said an official at the Rescue Coordination Committee of Tribhuvan International Airport.
    
"Thirteen Indian nationals, two Danish nationals and two Nepalese crew member were killed in the crash," the official said, adding rescuers have so far recovered nine bodies from the wreckage.
    
Six people on board, including a crew member and three Indians, have been rescued alive from the crash site, he said.
    
The injured people were taken to a hospital in Pokhara where condition of the three Indians was critical. There were altogether 18 passengers including 16 Indians and three Nepali crew members in the ill-fated aircraft.
    
The aircraft was heading towards Jomsom in the morning from Pokhara when it hit the hill, the official said, adding that there are possibilities of a technical fault.
    
The passengers had chartered the flight to take them from the central tourist hub of Pokhara to Muktinath, a famous Hindu pilgrimage in Jomsom near Tibetan border at the foot of the Thorong La Himalayan mountain pass, the official said.

The high-altitude Jomsom airport, about 200 km northwest of the capital, is a gateway to a popular tourism and trekking destination situated more than 2,600 m above sea level.
    
When contacted, Indian Embassy officials said they were trying to collect the details as there was some confusion over the nationalities of the passengers on board the ill-fated plane.
    
Agni Air marketing manager Pramod Pandey said two Danish nationals were also among the passengers. "It's not that much difficulty to land at the Jomsom airport. We are using experienced pilots over there. So, this pilot who flying this aircraft has a lot of flying hours," he added.
    
The plane turned into pieces but did not caught fire. The bodies of Pilot Prabhu Sharan Pathak and Co-pilot JD Maharjan have been recovered.

(Agencies)

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