Witnesses told how passengers trapped inside the aircraft could be heard “wailing and screaming” as the plane hit the ground just one minute after taking off at 6.17am.

All 19 people on board the Sita Air Dornier flight – number 9N AHA-D228 bound for Lukla from Katmandu – were killed in the disaster near the Manohara River, including three crew and seven British trekkers.

The crash happened 50 minutes south east of the Tribhuvan International Airport.

Nepal plane crash

The names of the victims, which include seven Nepalis and five Chinese, have not yet been released.

The photos show crowds of locals gathering as the emergency services attempt to extinguish the blaze – and bodies can be seen just metres from the aircraft’s shattered fuselage.

Tulasa Pokharel, 26, who lives close to the crash site, told myrepublica.com: “I could hear some people inside the plane wailing and screaming. When we went to inform the police and other locals about the incident and came back, there was just silence.

%TNT Magazine% Nepal plane crash

%TNT Magazine% Nepal plane crash survivors

“We saw the plane burning and all of them dead.” Rescuers were seen pulling burned bodies from the smouldering wreck.

The cause of the Nepal plane crash is yet to be confirmed, but it is believed the plane burst into flames after hitting a flying bird.

Pokharel added: “We could hear people inside the aircraft screaming, but we couldn’t throw water at the plane to out the fire because we were scared that the engines were about to explode.”

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A spokesman for Sita Airways told The Daily Telegraph: “There was very much heat and then the fire began. They were very close to the airport. After two or three minutes, it crashed.”

It is believed the passengers – the youngest believed to be 27, the eldest 60 – included two groups of trekkers due to start a 16-day trek to the Everest Base Camp.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it is looking “urgently” into reports that seven Britons were killed in the crash.

It is the sixth fatal plane crash in two years in Nepal. Dozens of small aircraft often fly in bad wether to access remote mountain areas not served by a road network.

Hiking group Sherpa Adventure, said the British victims had been heading to Khumbu, home to Everest. Owner Ang Tshering Sherpa said there were concerns the disaster could deter foreign tourists.

“The accident could raise questions about safety and could definitely affect tourism to some extent in the country,” he told Reuters.

More than 500,000 tourists head to Nepal every year.