Officials have confirmed that 72 people were killed when a plane crashed in Nepal.
Local media footage showed thick black smoke rising from the crash site, as rescue workers and crowds gathered near the wreckage.
Social media footage showed the plane flying low and spinning before it began to spin.
Yeti Airlines stated that at least 69 bodies were recovered from the crash site in the west of the country.
Krishna Bhandari, a spokesperson for the army, stated that “we expect to recover more bodies.” “The plane is in pieces.”
According to a spokesperson for the airline, the plane carried 68 passengers, three of them infants, as well as four crew members.
Five of the passengers were Indians, four Russians, and two South Koreans. One each came from Australia, France, Ireland, and Argentina.
“Half of the plane is on the hill, the other half in the gorge”
According to a police official, rescue workers had difficulty reaching the crash site because it was located in a canyon between two hills.
Arun Tamu, a local resident said that half of the plane was on the hillside. “The other half fell into the Seti river gorge.”
Khum Bahadur Chotri stated that he saw the plane “trembling, moving left, right and center, then suddenly its nose dived, and it went into a gorge”.
He stated that residents brought two people to the hospital.
Pokhara is located 125 miles (200km west) of Kathmandu and is the gateway to Annapurna Circuit. This popular Himalayan hiking trail is accessible from the resort town. The airport was opened just two weeks ago.
Emergency cabinet meeting
Pushpa Kamal Dhal, the prime Minister, called an emergency cabinet meeting. She urged security personnel to assist with rescue efforts and asked for help from locals.
Officials at the airport said that Yeti Airlines’ twin-engine ATR 72 was on its way from Kathmandu.
Yeti Airlines announced that all scheduled flights tomorrow would be cancelled in “mourning” for those who have lost their lives.
According to FlightRadar24, the plane was 15 years old. It had an outdated transponder that provided unreliable data.
According to the Aviation Safety Network database, it was Nepal’s most fatal air accident since 1992.
History and causes of air disasters
Nepal is home to eight out of the 14 highest mountains in the world, including Everest. Plane crashes are common there.
Since 2013, the European Union has barred Nepali airlines from its airspace due to safety concerns.
Last year, 22 people were killed when a plane crashed into a mountainside.
49 people were killed when a passenger plane carrying US-Bangla passengers crashed in Kathmandu on the way to Bangladesh in 2018.
All 167 passengers on board the Pakistan International Airlines plane crashed into a hill in Kathmandu, as it attempted to land.