the main points
- At least 44 people were killed when a Yeti Airlines flight from Kathmandu crashed in Pokhara.
- An airport official said an Australian was among the 72 people on board.
- Hundreds of rescue workers scoured the hillside crash site, where the plane “was blown to pieces”.
An airport official said an Australian was among 72 people on a domestic flight that crashed in Nepal.
At least 44 people were killed when a Yeti Airlines flight from Kathmandu crashed in Pokhara, about 200 kilometers west of the capital, on Sunday.
Jagannath Nirula, a spokesman for the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority, said the weather was clear.
“Thirty bodies have been recovered and sent to the hospital,” Nirola told Reuters. He added, “14 other bodies are still lying at the crash site, and the authorities are preparing a crane to transport them.”
A Nepal airport official said that besides an Australian, there were five Indians, four Russians, an Irish citizen, two South Koreans, a Frenchman and an Argentine on board.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been contacted for comment.
Sudarshan Partola, a spokesman for Yeti Airlines, said two infants and four crew members were among the 72 on board the twin-engine ATR-72.
Local television showed rescue workers scrambling around the broken parts of the plane on the hillside. Part of the ground near the crash site was burned as flames appeared.
“The plane is on fire,” said police official Ajay KC, adding that rescue workers were struggling to reach the site in a narrow gorge between two hills near the tourist city’s airport.
The aviation authority said in a statement that the vehicle called the airport from City George at 10:50 am local time. “Then it crashed.”
Arun Tamu, a local resident, told Reuters he arrived at the site minutes after the plane crashed, “half of the plane on the hillside.” “The other half fell into the City River Lane.”
Khum Bahadur Chhetri said he watched the flight from his rooftop approach.
“I saw the plane shudder and move left and right and suddenly its nose fell off and it entered the strait,” Chhetri told Reuters, adding that local residents had taken two passengers to hospital.
Flight-tracking website FlightRadar24 said on Twitter that the Yeti Airlines plane was 15 years old and was equipped with an outdated transceiver with unreliable data.
Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel told reporters that the government has set up a committee to investigate the cause of the collapse and is expected to submit a report within 45 days.
A passenger plane carrying 72 people has crashed near Pokhara International Airport in Nepal. The plane was carrying 68 passengers and four crew members. Source: aap / Bikram Rai/AP
Nepal’s aviation industry has boomed in recent years, ferrying cargo and people between hard-to-reach areas as well as foreign trekkers and climbers.
But it was plagued by poor safety due to inadequate training and maintenance.
The European Union has banned all Nepali airlines from its airspace due to safety concerns.
The Himalayan country also has some of the most difficult and difficult runways in the world, surrounded by snow-capped peaks with approaches that are challenging even for the most accomplished pilots.
Aircraft operators say Nepal lacks the infrastructure for accurate weather forecasts, especially in remote areas with difficult mountainous terrain where fatal accidents have occurred in the past.
Weather can also change quickly in the mountains, creating treacherous flying conditions.
In March 2018, a Bangla Dash 8 turboprop from Dhaka crashed upon landing in Kathmandu, killing 51 of the 71 people on board, according to the Aviation Safety Network.
At least 309 people have been killed since 2000 in a plane or helicopter crash in Nepal.