Officials have confirmed that Britons are among the dead after a plane crashed near the Nepal capital Kathmandu today.
The Foreign Office said it was offering support to friends and families of those who died, who are believed to be trekkers heading for the Everest region.
The Dornier aircraft, operated by Sita Air, had just taken off from Kathmandu Airport when the pilot reported the plane had struck a bird and was on fire.
It crashed in fields near the capital’s airport, killing all 19 on board.
A Reuters report from the crash site.
The dead are believed to include seven Britons heading to Lukla airport on a trekking holiday in the Khumbu area. Four Nepali and five Chinese passengers were among the fatalities, along with three crew.
British Ambassador to Nepal John Tucknott said: “Our thoughts at the moment are with the friends and families of those who lost their lives this morning.
“We will be offering consular assistance to the families of those bereaved.
“We’ve had excellent cooperation from the Nepalese authorities and the Nepali police and have been in touch with the local tour company who were arranging the tour for those British nationals we believe to have been on board.
“I myself have already been to Tribhuvan University hospital where the casualties were taken and have spoken to senior medical staff there and we remain in contact with them.”
The Britons were part of a group heading to Everest Base Camp in a tour led by Sherpa Adventures.
Sherpa Adventures named the seven Britons who perished, including brothers Vincent Kelly, 50, and Darren Kelly, 45.
Others who died in the crash were: Benjamin Ogden, 27, Raymond Eagle, 58, Stephen Holding, 60, Timothy Oakes, 57 and Christopher Davey, 51.
Their families have been informed.
Ashley Toft, managing director of Explore! the agency that organised the trip, said, “We are devastated by this news. Our thoughts are very much with the families of those affected, both in the UK and in Nepal. We are sending a senior manager out to Nepal today; she will arrive first thing tomorrow morning.
“We have no further information at present. The next of kin of all involved have been contacted by the FCO.”
Explore! said those concerned about loved ones travelling in Nepal, please contact the Foreign Office on 0207 7008 1500.
British Mountaineering Council chief executive Dave Turnbull said: “This is shocking news and our thoughts are with the friends and families of the trekkers who died.
“The recent avalanches on Mont Maudit and Manaslu were a stark reminder that the high mountains can be dangerous places. We tend to take air travel for granted these days but this plane crash is a further reminder of the risks involved.”