Thursday, 16 December 2010

Bhutan - 18 Bhutanese pilgrims perish in Nepal plane crash tragedy

In one of the biggest tragedies, 18 Bhutanese pilgrims have perished in a plane crash in Nepal yesterday. They were returning to Kathmandu from Daphu Martika on-board Tara Air, a domestic airline.

The twin otter plane went missing shortly after take-off from the Lamidanda airport, 162 kilometres east of Kathmandu. It was scheduled to land in Kathmandu at 5pm yesterday. Rescue operations were launched immediately but had to be stopped due to bad weather and darkness.

The crash site was located at 6.30 this morning. There were no survivors. The plane was carrying 19 passengers, 18 were Bhutanese pilgrims. All the 18 bodies have been recovered and have been brought to Kathmandu. They will be brought to Paro at the earliest and possibly by Saturday morning.

On royal command, the Prime Minister, the home minister, government officials, and the office of the Gyalpoi Zimpoen are monitoring the situation. A disaster relief and information centre has also been established at the office of the Gyalpoi Zimpoen’s office.

The Prime Minister Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley is in constant touch with the Prime Minister of Nepal to ensure that all necessary and possible arrangements are being made to bring the bodies to Thimphu.

A team of nine members led by the Cabinet Secretary and two Zimpoen Wogmas left for Kathmandu today. A special flight to Nepal is also being arranged for the relatives.

The government of Nepal has also expressed condolence to His Majesty the King and assured that a thorough investigation will be carried out.

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