At least 32 people were killed on Sunday when a plane crashed near Pokhara, in central Nepal, an airline spokesman said.
Seventy-two people — four crew members and 68 passengers — were on board the Nepalese Yeti Airlines ATR-72 plane when it crashed, Yeti Airlines spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula said.
The country’s Civil Aviation Authority reported that 53 of the passengers and all four crew members were Nepalese. There were also fifteen foreigners on the plane: five were Indian, four Russian and two Korean. The rest were individual citizens of Australia, Argentina, France and Ireland.
The district police and the district administration are carrying out a rescue operation and hope to save at least some survivors, said Tek Bahadur KC, the chief prosecutor of Kaski district.
He said there were now 32 dead bodies in Gandaki Hospital.
The plane was en route from the capital Kathmandu to Pokhara, some 129 kilometers (80 miles) west of the capital, the country’s state media, The Rising Nepal, reported.
Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said he was “deeply saddened by the sad and tragic accident”.
“I sincerely appeal to the security personnel, all agencies of the Nepalese government and the general public to begin an effective rescue effort,” Dahal said on Twitter.
The Himalayan country of Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest, has a record number of aircraft accidents. The weather can change suddenly and airstrips are usually located in mountainous areas that are difficult to access.
Last May, a Tara Air flight carrying 22 people crashed into a Himalayan mountain at an altitude of about 14,500 feet. That was the country’s 19th plane crash in 10 years and the 10th fatal in the same period, according to the Aviation Safety Network database.
This is an evolving story. More to follow.