At least 32 people died on sunday when a 72-seater passenger plane crashed into a gorge while trying to land in Pokhara, a tourist town in the center of Nepalaccording to an official.
Rescuers were working at the crash site near the Seti River, about two kilometers from Pokhara International Airport, and were expected to find more bodies, said Tek Bahadur KC, administrative officer in Kaski district. At first it was not clear what had caused the crash.
The twin-engine plane ATR 72 operated by nepali company Yeti Airlines it carried 68 passengers, including 15 foreign citizens, and four crew members, according to a statement from the Nepalese Civil Aviation Authority. The foreigners were five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, one Irishman, one Australian, An Argentinian and a French.
In a previous balance, an official said that there were survivors. “We have found 29 bodies so far and also we have transferred some survivors to the hospital”, he stated to AFP Gurudatta Dhakal, deputy chief of the Kaski district in central Nepal, where the accident took place.
Among the bodies recovered are those of 18 men, 11 women, and a child.
According to a local official identified as Gurudutta Dhakal, Rescue services were trying to put out the flames at the scene. of the accident to initiate the rescue of the passengers.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who attended the crash site, said the plane was flying from the capital Kathmandu to Pokhara and urged security personnel and the general population to help rescue efforts.
Videos published on social networks, attributed to the accident this Sunday, show columns of smoke coming out of the area where the accident took place.
The pokhara airport serves as a connection for travelers heading to the town of Jomsomlocated in full Himalayasa popular destination among foreign tourists visiting the annapurna peak (8,091 meters) or the region of mustangas well as among Hindu pilgrims.
Nepalwith frequent air accidents, has been the subject of repeated international sanctions for lack of controls. In addition, it has one of the most remote and complicated airstrips in the world, flanked by snow-capped peaks with approaches that challenge even the most experienced pilots.
Air operators claim that Nepal lacks infrastructure to make accurate weather forecastsespecially in remote areas with difficult mountainous terrain, where fatal accidents have occurred in the past.
The European Union Nepali airlines have been banned from accessing its territory since 2013.
In May 2022, the 22 people who were traveling on board a plane of the Nepalese company Tara Air they died when they crashed. The control of air traffic lost contact with him Twin Otter of two propellers shortly after it took off from Pokhara and headed to Jomsom, a popular trekking destination.
His remains were found a day later, scattered on the side of a mountain at a altitude of about 4,400 meters. Nail 60 people participated in the search missionmost of which traveled miles uphill to get there.
After that accident, the authorities tightened the regulations, indicating that the planes would only receive authorization to fly if there was a favorable weather forecast along the route.
The most serious plane crash in recent years in Nepal occurred in March 2018when a plane of the Bangladeshi airline US-Bangla coming from Dacca crashed during landing maneuver in the kathmandu international airport with 67 passengers and four crew members on board, leaving fifty deaths.
Just two months earlier, a plane from Thai Airways crashed near the same airport, killing 113 people.
(With information from AFP, AP and EFE)