At least 68 dead in Nepal’s worst plane crash in 30 years

At least 68 people died on Sunday after a domestic flight crashed in Pokhara, Nepal’s civil aviation authority said, in the worst plane crash in three decades in the small Himalayan nation.

Hundreds of rescue workers were climbing the hill where the Yeti Airlines flight, carrying 72 people from the capital Kathmandu, crashed.

Local television showed the rescuers in the wreckage of the aircraft. Some of the ground near the crash site was calcined, with flames visible.

The crash is the deadliest in Nepal since 1992, according to the Aviation Safety Network database, when a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A300 crashed into a hill on approach to Kathmandu, killing 167 on board.

The aircraft made contact with the airport from the Seti Gorge at 0505 GMT, the aviation authority said in its statement. “Then it crashed.”

Police officer Ajay KC said rescue teams had difficulty reaching the scene, in a gorge between two hills near the resort town’s airport.

“Half the plane is on the hillside,” he said Arun Tamua local resident, who informed Reuters who arrived on the scene minutes after the plane went down. “The other half fell into the Seti River gorge.”

Khum Bahadur Chetri he said he watched from the roof of his house as the plane was approaching, and highlighted in dialogue with Reuters that local residents took two passengers to the hospital.

Nearly 350 people have died since 2000 in plane or helicopter crashes in Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest, where sudden climate changes can create dangerous conditions.

Among the passengers of the twin-engine ATR 72 were three infants and three children, according to the Civil Aviation Authority statement. Also one Argentinian, five Indians, four Russians, one Irish, two South Koreans, one Australian and one Frenchman.

The journey from the capital to Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest city nestled under the picturesque Annapurna mountain range, is one of the most popular tourist itineraries in the Himalayan country, where many prefer a short flight rather than a six-hour journey on roads Mountain .

Pokhara Airport Spokesperson, Anup JoshiHe said the plane crashed on approach, adding it was “flying at 12,500 feet and a normal descent.” The weather was clear on Sunday.

Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 said on Twitter that the Yeti Airlines plane was 15 years old and fitted with an old transponder with unreliable data. He added that the last signal was received at 0512 GMT at an altitude of 2,875 feet above mean sea level.

Pokhara Airport is approximately 2,700 to 2,800 feet above mean sea level, according to FlightRadar24.

The ATR72 from the European aircraft manufacturer ATR is a widely used twin-turboprop aircraft produced by a joint venture between Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo. Yeti Airlines has a fleet of six ATR72-500 aircraft, according to its website.

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