Officials in Nepal say seven British people were among the 19 trekkers heading to the Mount Everest region who died in a plane crash in the capital. The small aircraft had only just taken off from Katmandu, but seemed to be heading back to the airport after getting into difficulties. It's thought a bird might have flown into one of the engines shortly after take-off.

The plane - operated by Sita Air - came down along the riverbanks just 500 or so yards away from the airport. It immediately burst into flames although some eye witnesses say the nose of the plane was alight before the crash. Villagers first on the scene who tried to help by dousing the fire were beaten back by the intensity of the flames. Emergency services personnel, along with Nepalese soldiers arrived at the scene soon afterwards but when they arrived it was clear there were no survivors. All nineteen people on board – some of whom were Chinese nationals - may well have died immediately upon impact. A recovery operation is now underway, officials clearing away what's left of the aircraft so investigating authorities can analyse some of the wreckage and find out the exact cause.

The British Embassy in Kathmandu said the UK ambassador had gone to the local University Teaching Hospital where all the bodies had been taken.