KATHMANDU, Jan 15 (Reuters) – At least 40 people were killed when a domestic flight crashed in Pokhara, Nepal, on Sunday, in what Nepal aviation authorities said was the worst crash in the tiny Himalayan nation in nearly five years. ACCIDENT.
Hundreds of rescuers continued to scour hillsides for the crash site of the plane of domestic carrier Yeti Airlines flying from the capital Kathmandu.
“Rescue operations are underway,” said Nepal Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Jagannath Niroula. “it’s clear.”
Local television showed thick black smoke billowing from the crash site as rescuers and crowds gathered around the wreckage.
The crash was Nepal’s deadliest since March 2018, when a U.S.-Bangla Dash 8 turboprop from Dhaka crashed while landing in Kathmandu, according to the Aviation Safety Network. 51 of the 71 people were killed.
Airline spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula said there were 72 people on board the twin-engine ATR 72 plane operated by Yeti on Sunday, including two infants and four crew members.
Five Indians, four Russians, one Irishman, two South Koreans, one Australian, one Frenchman and one Argentinian were on board the plane, a Nepalese airport official said.
According to flight tracking website FlightRadar24, the plane is 15 years old.
The ATR72 is a widely used twin-engine turboprop aircraft manufactured by a joint venture between Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo. According to its website, Yeti has a fleet of six ATR72-500 aircraft.
Air crashes are not uncommon in Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, as the weather can change suddenly and create dangerous situations.
Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal called an emergency cabinet meeting after the plane crash, a government statement said.
Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Additional reporting by Jamie Freed; Writing by Devjyot Ghoshal; Editing by William Mallard
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