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May 14, 2012

Plane Carrying 21 Crashes in Nepal’s Himalayas, Killing 15 [UPDATED]

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Jomsom Airport crash site. (Map by Matt Molnar/Google Maps)


An aircraft carrying 21 people crashed in northern Nepal’s mountains on Monday, killing at least 16 of them. Four critically injured survivors were transported to a hospital via helicopter.

The Agni Air Dornier Do 228 was attempting to land at Jomsom Airport, a tiny strip set at an elevation of 8,800 ft, whose runway measures a challenging 1,742 ft (531 m) long and 62 ft (19 m) wide. Reports indicated that the plane broke up but did not catch fire.

Founded in 2006, this marks Agni’s second fatal accident in less than two years. On Aug. 24, 2010, another Agni Dornier Do 228 went down while attempting to divert from Kathmandu to Simara due to poor weather, killing all 14 on that plane.

Despite its perilous position, Jomsom had previously only suffered two serious accidents in its history, according to the Aviation Safety Database.

UPDATE 9:55 AM ET: Six people on the plane survived, lowering the initial death toll to 15. The flight was landing from Pokhara, Nepal, when it crashed into a hillside.

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