A Cessna 208 Caravan of Nepalese regional carrier Necon Air has crashed on take-off from Jumla, killing four of the 12 passengers and crew.

The Nepalese Government has appointed a team of investigators, headed by Hari Bhakta Shrestha, joint secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation. The dead included the co-pilot.

On the flight on 17 January from Jumla - some 500km (270nm) north-west of Kathmandu - to Nepalgunj, the aircraft apparently developed engine trouble shortly after take-off. According to the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority, the Caravan reached a maximum altitude of 460ft (140m) before it crashed with its engine on fire. Built in 1993, the Caravan had been flying with Necon since February 1994.

Necon Air is conducting a fleet and route network expansion drive. It operates four British Aerospace 748 twin turboprops, and one remaining Caravan. Final negotiations are under way for two new Bombardier Dash 8-300s on operating lease from March or April, says Necon.

Source: Flight International