February 4, 2023

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Plane crashes with 72 people on board in Nepal | News

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The plane was on its way from the capital Kathmandu to Pokhara when it crashed with 72 people on board.

At least 16 people have died after a plane carrying 72 people crashes in Nepal.

The plane was on its way from the capital Kathmandu to the city of Pokhara on Sunday when it crashed. Pokhara is a busy tourist town about 200 kilometers (124 miles) west of Kathmandu.

There were 72 people on board the twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft operated by Nepal Airlines, including two infants, four crew members and ten foreigners, said airline spokesperson Sudarshan Partola.

“We expect to recover more bodies,” army spokesman Krishna Bhandari told Reuters news agency.

Local television showed thick black smoke billowing from the crash site as rescue workers and crowds of people gathered around the wreckage.

“Responders have already reached there and are trying to put out the fire. All agencies are now focusing on putting out the fire first and rescuing the passengers,” said local official Gurudota Dhakal.

The aviation authority said in a statement that the plane called the airport from City George at 10:50 am (05:05 GMT). “Then it crashed.”

Arriving at the site minutes after the plane went down, Arun Tamu, a local resident, told Reuters: “Half of the plane is on the hillside.”

“The other half fell into the City River Gorge.”

Nepal plane crash
Locals see the wreckage of a passenger plane in Pokhara [Yunish Gurung/AP Photo]

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Kathmandu, Ramyata Limbu said local residents in Pokhara confirmed that the weather and visibility were “good” when the plane crashed.

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“Then it is [the crash] Limbaugh said. Witnesses said that the plane was experiencing problems before it hit a strait near the airport.

Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has called an emergency cabinet meeting after the plane crash, according to a government statement.

“I am deeply saddened by the unfortunate and tragic accident of Yeti Airlines ATR72 which was en route from Kathmandu to Pokhara with passengers,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I sincerely appeal to the security personnel, all agencies of the Nepalese government and the general public to initiate an effective rescue operation.”

The accident is the deadliest in Nepal since March 2018, when a US-Bangla Dash 8 helicopter from Dhaka crashed upon landing in Kathmandu, killing 51 of the 71 people on board, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

In May, a Tara Air plane crashed less than 20 minutes after taking off from Pokhara.

At least 309 people have been killed since 2000 in plane or helicopter crashes in Nepal – home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Mount Everest – where weather can change suddenly and lead to dangerous conditions.