Passenger plane with 72 people onboard crashes in Nepal's Pokhara; 16 bodies recovered

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A Yeti Airline aeroplane flying to Pokhara from Kathmandu crashed on the runway at Pokhara International Airport in Nepal on Sunday.

According to the Nepali media, at least 16 dead bodies have been recovered from the wreckage.

A total of 68 passengers and four crew members were on board the 9N ANC ATR72 aircraft that crashed between the old airport and the Pokhara International Airport, Sudarshan Bartaula, spokesperson of Yeti Airlines, told The Kathmandu Post.

While landing at the Pokhara airport, the aircraft crashed on the bank of the Seti River between the old airport and the new airport. There were a total of 68 passengers and four crew members, Republica newspaper reported.

The passengers included 10 foreigners, according to the state-run Nepal Television.

According to Tek Bahadur KC, Chief District Officer of the Kaski district, the plane crashed into the Seti river gorge.

According to the reports, rescue operations are underway and the airport is closed for the time being.

According to a spokesperson of the airlines, a total of 68 passengers and four crew members were on board the Yeti airlines that crashed between the old airport and the Pokhara International Airport.

Images and videos circulating on social media showed plumes of smoke billowing from the crash site.

The wreckage was on fire and rescue workers were trying to put out the blaze, said local official Gurudutta Dhakal.

The plane caught fire as it crashed, and rescue workers were trying to put it off, a local official was quoted as saying.

"We don't know right now if there are survivors," the airline's spokesperson Sudarshan Bartaula told news agency AFP.

Nepal's air industry has boomed in recent years, carrying goods and people between hard-to-reach areas as well as foreign trekkers and climbers.

But it has been plagued by poor safety due to insufficient training and maintenance.

The European Union has banned all Nepali carriers from its airspace over safety concerns.

The Himalayan country also has some of the world's most remote and tricky runways, flanked by snow-capped peaks with approaches that pose a challenge even for accomplished pilots.

Aircraft operators say Nepal lacks infrastructure for accurate weather forecasts, especially in remote areas with challenging mountainous terrain where deadly crashes have taken place in the past.

The weather can also change quickly in the mountains, creating treacherous flying conditions.

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.

With inputs from agencies

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Passenger plane with 72 people onboard crashes in Nepal's Pokhara; 16 bodies recovered
Passenger plane with 72 people onboard crashes in Nepal's Pokhara; 16 bodies recovered
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