Pakistani aircraft crashes in Nepal

KATMANDU, Nepal -- A Pakistan International Airlines aircraft carrying at least 155 passengers and 12 crew crashed Monday into a hillside southeast of Katmandu, Home Ministry and other official sources said.

There was no confirmation of casualties, but a spokesman for the airline said it was feared that all on board the plane had died.


The French-made Airbus 310 crashed into a 6,000-feet hillside near the village of Teenpane, about 10 miles southeast of the capital, after disappearing from radar screens at 2.30 p.m., the Nepalese sources said.

The aircraft, flight PK268 travelling from Karachi, Pakistan, en route for Dhaka, had been due to land at Katmandu International Airport at 2.40 p.m.

A Pakistani government official in Islamabad said there were 167 passengers and 12 crew on board the plane. All except 12 of them were foreigners, mainly Western tourists, he said.

The PIA spokesman said the wreckage had been found on the southeastern edge of the Katmandu valley, and that helicopters from the Royal Nepalese Army were at the scene of the crash.

According to the PIA official, villagers near the scene had heard a loud bang before seeing the aircraft crash.


A Katmandu airport official said weather conditions were clear at the time of the plane's disappearance, and that it was under normal operations.

PIA has set up an emergency center at Karachi airport to provide information for distressed relatives and friends, the official said.

The PIA official said that there was no radar at Katmandu airport, and that air traffic controllers were using radio to guide the plane in.

The incident came one month after 113 people died when a Thai International airbus crashed into a cliff 20 miles northwest of the capital. That accident was Nepal's worst air disaster to date.

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