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KATMANDU, Nepal - A plane crashed into a mountain in the Himalayas while trying to land at an airport in northern Nepal on Monday, killing 15 people and injuring six, some critically.

It was carrying two pilots and a flight attendant - all Nepalese - along with 16 Indians and two Danish citizens, both of whom survived, officials said.

Just before the crash, the captain, Prabhu Sharan Pathak, had told the Pokhara airport the two-engine Dornier plane was having technical problems and he did not want to land as scheduled at Jomson Airport because it lacked adequate facilities.

“The pilots were then asked to return to the Pokhara airport where the facilities were better for an emergency landing,’’ said Yogendra Kunwar, an air traffic controller at the Pokhara Airport


The plane broke into pieces but did not catch fire. Rescue was swift because the aircraft crashed just few yards from an army camp.

The Jomson airport, at an elevation of 8,800 feet with a short runway, is considered one of the world’s most dangerous.

The airport is a gateway to a popular destination for tourists and for Hindu pilgrims on their way to the revered Muktinath temple. It is about 125 miles northwest of Katmandu.

The Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet said the Danish passengers were interviewed by phone at the hospital. The paper identified them as Emilie Joergensen and Andreas Rasch.

“We were thrown around. The seats were unfastened and we were squeezed between seats and bodies,’’ it quoted Joergensen as saying.

It was the second Agni Air crash in two years. In August 2010, one of its planes crashed in the Everest region, killing 14, including four Americans.