At least 68 people died on Sunday morning in Nepal after a plane carrying about 72 people from capital Kathmandu crashed in Pokhara.
According to news agency, AFP, while quoting the police, said there were 68 passengers and four crew members on board the plane that crashed between the old and new airports in the city, located in western Nepal.
The twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft operated by Yeti Airlines was en route from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu.
53 Nepali, 5 Indians, 4 Russians, 2 Koreans, 1 Argentine, and one each from Ireland, Australia, and France were in the plane, the airlines said in a statement.
“Thirty-one (bodies) have been taken to hospitals,” police official AK Chhetri told AFP, adding that 36 other bodies were found in the gorge where the aircraft crashed.
Rescue operations have been difficult because of a raging fire at the wreckage.
Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ called an emergency cabinet meeting soon after the crash, and the Nepal government has formed a five-member commission of inquiry to probe the incident.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the aircraft took off from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport at 10:33 am.
The plane was close to landing at the Pokhara airport, when it crashed into a river gorge on the bank of the Seti River.
The crash happened around 20 minutes after the take-off, suggesting the aircraft might have been on the descent.
The flight time between the two cities is 25 minutes.”We don’t know right now if there are survivors,” the airline’s spokesperson Sudarshan Bartaula told news agency AFP.