Investigators searching for Agni Air black box data recorder


KATHMANDU — Investigators in Nepal on Wednesday combed the site of a plane crash that killed 14 people including six tourists, as the grim task of identifying the bodies began.

The small Agni Air plane crashed in heavy rain early on Tuesday as it returned to the capital Kathmandu after bad weather prevented it from landing at Lukla, one of the highest airports in the world.

The six tourists — four Americans, a Japanese and a British citizen — were all planning to walk to Everest base camp from Lukla.

The cause of the accident is not yet known, and Agni Air said investigators were searching for the plane’s black box data recorder.

“We don’t know what happened yesterday. It may have been the weather conditions, but I will not be able to say any more until the investigation is complete,” said Agni Air marketing director Pramod Pandey.

The remains of the victims have been taken to a Kathmandu hospital but Pandey said doctors were struggling to identify the badly burned bodies.

Agni Air, which has two more planes of the same model, grounded its flights after the accident, but Pandey said it had now resumed operations.

“Things are getting back to normal, but we are grieving for our staff and the passengers who lost their lives,” he said.

Thousands of travellers fly into Lukla, 140 kilometres (90 miles) northeast of Kathmandu, every year to access the stunning Himalayan range that forms Nepal’s northern border with Chinese-controlled Tibet.