In Nepal, a passenger plane with 72 people on board, including many foreigners, crashed before landing at Pokhara International Airport. At least 64 deaths have been reported, according to local authorities. Rescue operations are still underway. There will also be some survivors.
The plane, an ATR-72 of Yeti Airlines, was on its way from the capital, Kathmandu, to Pokhara. Just before 11 am local time, moments before landing, the plane crashed into a hill near the airport.
Pictures posted on social media show how the plane suddenly descends and turns away at a low altitude, after which control appears to be lost. Then he heard a bang. Other images show clouds of smoke at the crash site. The pictures also show the complete destruction of the plane.
“Half of the plane was on the hill and the other half fell in the valley next to it,” a local resident told Reuters news agency. Especially the part that is located in the valley makes the rescue difficult.
On the other hand, according to a police official, at least 64 lifeless bodies were found in the wreckage. According to a local government official, some of the survivors have been taken to hospital. Their condition was not clear, and among the 72 passengers there were several foreigners. According to Reuters, there are five Indians, four Russians, South Koreans, an Irishman, an Australian, a Frenchman and an Argentinian.
Pokhara, the city where the plane was supposed to land, is a Himalayan tourist attraction from where many treks depart towards Annapurna Base Camp. It is full of young backpackers preparing for a grueling trek.
The Nepalese government started consultations on the crisis immediately after the accident. A committee will also be set up to try to find out the circumstances of the accident. On social media, the Prime Minister briefly responded to the drama: “I am deeply saddened by the unfortunate and tragic incident of Yeti Airlines ATR-72 which was carrying passengers from Kathmandu to Pokhara.”
Aircraft accidents are not common in Nepal. High mountain peaks and unstable weather conditions can make for very challenging conditions. Last year, 22 people were killed in a crash on the Pokhara-Jomsom road. Due to safety concerns, Nepalese airlines have been banned from flying in EU airspace since 2013.
“Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert.”