KATMANDU, Nepal — A plane carrying trekkers to the Mount Everest region hit a bird and crashed just after takeoff Friday in Nepal’s capital, killing the 19 Nepali, British and Chinese people on board, authorities said.
The pilot of the domestic Sita Air flight reported trouble two minutes after takeoff and appeared to have been trying to turn back, said Katmandu airport official Ratish Chandra Suman. The crash site is only 500 meters (547 yards) from the airport, and the wrecked plane was pointing toward the airport area. Suman said the plane hit a vulture just after it took off, causing the crash.
Suman said he could not confirm whether the plane was already on fire before it crashed. Cellphone video shot by locals showed that the front section of the plane was on fire when it first hit the ground and that the pilot apparently had attempted to land the plane on open ground beside a river.
As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.