An aircraft carrying 21 people crashed while trying to land at a mountain airstrip, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) northwest of Kathmandu, early on Thursday, injuring everyone on board, news agencies reported.
Eight of the plane's passengers were Japanese tourists while the three crew members and other passengers were Nepali, the Associated Press reported.
Among the injured, it was not immediately clear how many were in serious condition with official accounts given to news agencies varying between four to five people.
At 8:30 a.m. (02:45 a.m. GMT) the plane’s brakes failed while landing at the Jomsom airport in Mustang district, and skidded into the Kali Gandaki river in the Annapurna mountain range in the country's northwest, the AFP reported.
The Twin Otter aircraft, belonging to state-owned Nepal Airlines, had flown from Pokhara airport. Jomsom is a gateway to Muktinath, a pilgrimage site and a popular trekking destination.
In May last year, 15 passengers died when an aircraft carrying 21 people crashed while attempting to land at the same airstrip. The aircraft operated by Agni Air plunged into a hill close to Jomsom airport. Among those killed, 13 were Indian tourists and the other two were Nepali pilots. Six passengers survived the crash.
In September last year, an aircraft carrying 19 people, including seven Britons, five Chinese and seven Nepalis, crashed on the outskirts of Kathmandu, killing everyone on board. The plane caught fire and crashed near the airport, soon after takeoff.
Air accidents and fatalities are an ongoing concern in Nepal, which attracts a large number of tourists, pilgrims and trekkers, with a limited road network. Tourists often rely on the country's 16 domestic airlines and 49 airports to reach remote areas, the AFP reported.
Gayathri writes about geopolitics and business for International Business Times. She began her career at the Times of India as news coordinator, before moving on to IBTimes...