Families attend Nepal plane crash inquest

Ben Ogden
Ben Ogden

An inquest into a plane crash in Nepal which killed a former Royal Latin School student has delivered a verdict of accidental death on all seven British tourists who died.

Ben Ogden, aged 27, from Buckingham, was among 19 people who died when an aircraft operated by Sita Air crashed just after take-off in Nepal in September 2012.

Ben’s parents, Andy and Pat, were among those attending the all-day inquest in Warrington on Tuesday.

The European Union has already placed all of Nepal’s airlines on its air safety list, banning Nepalese-registered aircraft from flying to European member states. The coroner said he will write to the travel industry trade body, ABTA, to warn tour operators against using blacklisted Nepalese airlines.

Mr Ogden told the Advertiser: “I can’t change our loss but I do have a passion to communicate to people that they should think very hard before taking these flights.

“All Nepalese internal carriers are now blacklisted by the EU and it’s as well people know that.

“We want to look forward and if we’ve got an opportunity to make sure people go into these things with their eyes fully open, that’s all we want.

“We generally look at air travel as a safe means of transport. All we would wish is that people do a bit more research.

“Ben was very adventurous and loved travel but he was risk averse and he was also very meticulous in his research.

“The fact is, at that time, this information was not easy to get hold of.”

Jim Morris, of aviation law firm Irwin Mitchell, represented some of the bereaved families at the inquest.

Mr Morris said: “Prior to the Sita tragedy, from 2000 to 2012 there were 14 air crashes in Nepal that caused over 150 deaths and this tragedy was the sixth fatal plane crash in the country across a two-year period.

“Clearly Nepal domestic flights had a dreadful safety record prior to the Sita crash and following on from this inquest our families clearly believe that more should have been done in advance to warn of the dangers of internal flights in Nepal.

“Had this been done, it is likely a number of the British passengers may not have purchased the holiday package and would still be alive today.

“Since the Sita Air crash, there have been four further air accidents, one of which tragically killed all 18 persons on board.

“This continuation of poor safety is very concerning.”

Explore Worldwide has accepted legal liability for the crash.