167 Die as Jet Crashes Into Nepal Hillside

<i> From Associated Press</i>

A Pakistani jet filled with Europeans--including mountain climbers and missionaries--plowed into a pine-covered hillside Monday, and rescuers searching the burning wreckage reported no survivors among the 167 aboard.

Officials said one American was also on board the Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A-300 when it crashed as it was about to land at Katmandu’s airport.

The pilot had given no indication that anything was wrong before contact was lost, and the weather was normal, officials said.


Airline sources in Pakistan said the plane may have been flying too low as it approached this city, ringed by Himalayan mountains. The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the plane was flying at 7,500 feet when it should have been at 9,000.

The jet, on a flight from Karachi, Pakistan, crashed 14 miles south of Katmandu’s airport, said Nagendra Prasad Ghimire, deputy chief of the airport.

Rescue crews that reached the site by helicopter said the plane was on fire. An airman lowered himself on a rope for a closer view but found no evidence of survivors, Ghimire said.

Airline officials said at least 89 of the 155 passengers were Europeans and the crew numbered 12.

Thirty-five Britons, including a missionary family with three children, were among the passengers, the airline reported. Airline officials said the passengers also included an American, 29 Spaniards, 12 Dutch citizens, 12 Pakistanis, 10 Nepalese, 10 Italians, two Swiss, two Bangladeshis and one German.