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Plane Crash Near Mount Everest Kills 18

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Mount EverestA small airplane crashed into an airport near Mount Everest yesterday, killing 18 people but sparing the pilot.

The 19-seat Twin Otter snagged its wheels on a fence as it tried to land in foggy conditions at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, Nepal. The plane crash-landed and burst into flames on the runway.

The plane, operated by the Nepal-based Yeti Airlines, took off from Kathmandu Airport at 6:51 a.m. local time, and crashed about 40 minutes later.

A witness at the airport reported that fog settled over the airport just before the accident.

Among those killed were 12 Germans on an organized tour, two Nepalese tourists, an Australian couple, the co-pilot, and a flight attendant. The pilot, Surendra Kunwar, survived the crash and is reported to be in critical condition.

The tiny Lukla airport is not much more than a runway carved into the side of the Himalayas. The runway is about 65 feet wide and ends in a 2,000-foot drop.

The airport has several daily flights as it’s the gateway for most climbers beginning their trek up Mount Everest.

Links: The Herald (UK), News.com (Australia), Yeti Airlines

By Sarika Chawla for PeterGreenberg.com.

Read more Travel News Analysis of the day’s top stories.

Planes crashes aren’t the only travel problem in the area, check out: Quake, Civil Unrest Threaten Tibetan Tourism.

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