New Delhi: According to Reuters, a plane carrying about 72 people from the Nepal’s capital Kathmandu crashed in Pokhara this morning, leaving at least 40 people dead. The aircraft that crashed in western Nepal between the city’s old and new airports carried 68 passengers and four crew members. The Yeti Airlines twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft was flying from Kathmandu.
The plane was close to landing at the Pokhara airport, when it crashed into a river gorge on the bank of the Seti River. The crash happened around 20 minutes after the take-off, suggesting the aircraft might have been on the descent. The flight time between the two cities is 25 minutes.
“We don’t know right now if there are survivors,” the airline’s spokesperson Sudarshan Bartaula told news agency AFP.
A local official was quoted as stating that rescuers were attempting to put out the flames started by the airliner as it fell.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, the minister of union civil aviation, expressed his condolences for the victims.
Concerns about safety and inadequate personnel training have plagued Nepal’s airline industry. After the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) raised safety concerns, the European Union placed Nepal on the flight safety blacklist in 2013, ordering a complete ban on all flights from the Himalayan nation into its airspace.
According to AFP, horrifying aviation catastrophes in Nepal have previously claimed hundreds of lives.