It’s thought that the crash might have happened after the plane hit a large bird of prey.

Deputy police chief at the Tribhuvan international airport (TIA), Superintendent Rabiraj Shrestha said: “A bird might have been sucked into the engine and caused problems due to which the pilot might have took decision for emergency landing and as a result the plane crashed.” 

Shreshtra said rubbish dumped along the sides of the airport attracts large numbers of birds and a dead eagle was recovered from among the wreckage. Rubbish beside the runway of a busy airport would normally be considered a significant hazard, but flight regulations in Nepal are known to be less than rigorous.

In September 2011, 19 people were killed when a Buddha Air flight crashed on a similar route. Fatal crashes also occurred in August and December 2010.

On this occasion, five tourists believed to be from China, also died along with four Nepali passengers and the plane’s crew. The plane was a twin-engined Dornier run by the local Sita Air, and it crashed on the banks of the Manohara river, promptly bursting into flames.

Image via Getty