Plane carrying 72 passengers crashes in Pokhara, Nepal. Several killed.
An ATR-72 aircraft of Yeti Airlines with 72 people on board crashed in Pokhara, Nepal between old domestic airport and Pokhara International airport on Sunday, a spokesman for Yeti Airlines said, reported news agency AFP.
More than 60 passengers are confirmed to be dead in the crash, police said.
"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.
The plane was carrying 68 passengers and four crew, there were also infants on board.
According to reports, the plane crashed just seconds before it was due to land. The flight was en route from Kathmandu to Pokhara.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, the aircraft took off from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport at 10.33 am and was close to landing at the Pokhara airport, when it crashed into a river gorge on the bank of the Seti River.
The airport is closed for the time being and rescue operations are currently underway.
15 foreign nationals, including six children, were on board. 53 Nepali, 5 Indian, 4 Russian, 2 Koreans, 1 Argentinian, and one each from Ireland, Australia, and France were on the plane, Yeti airlines said in a statement.
Prime Minister of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' reaches the airport, 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.
Such plane crashes have taken place earlier as well where hundreds of people lost their lives, reported news agency AFP.
In May 2022, all 22 people on board a plane operated by Nepali carrier Tara Air -- 16 Nepalis, four Indians, and two Germans -- died when it crashed.
In March 2018, a US-Bangla Airlines plane crash-landed near Kathmandu's international airport, killing 51 people.
That accident was Nepal's deadliest since 1992, when all 167 people aboard a Pakistan International Airlines plane died when it crashed on approach to Kathmandu.
Just two months earlier, a Thai Airways aircraft had crashed near the same airport, killing 113 people.
Nepal's Pokhara airport was inaugurated two weeks back, i. e., on January 1,2023 built in the backdrop of the pristine Annapurna Mountain Range. The flagship project was part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation.
The Govt. of Nepal declares a one-day national mourning tomorrow.
(With Inputs from ANI, NDTV and AFP)