February 5, 2023

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Plane crashes in Nepal with 72 on board (+ videos)

There were 15 foreign nationals on board: five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, one Irishman, one Australian, one Argentinean and one Frenchman.

A passenger plane covering Nepal’s regional route plunged into a valley on approach to a newly opened airport in the resort city of Pokhara, killing 72 people on Sunday, an official confirmed. .

The Civil Aviation Authority announced the toll on Twitter on Sunday as rescuers searched the crash site near the Seti River, 1.6 kilometers from the Pokhara International Airport.

Rescuers used ropes to pull the bodies out of the bodies, which were partially suspended on the edge of the ravine. Firefighters shifted some of the charred bodies to hospitals where relatives of the victims had gathered.

More bodies are expected to be found at the bottom of the cliff, said Kaski District Administrative Officer Tek Bahadur K.C.

The cause of the accident was not known at first.

An ATR 72 twin-engine flight operated by Nepalese airline Eti Airlines was carrying 68 passengers on board for a 27-minute journey from the capital, Kathmandu.

According to the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority, there were 15 foreigners and four crew members on board the flight. The foreigners are five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, one Irish, one Australian, one Argentine and one French.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who visited the airport after the accident, set up a commission to investigate the incident.

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“The incident is tragic. “The entire force of the Nepal Army (and) the police has been deployed in the rescue operation,” he said.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it was trying to confirm the condition of the two South Korean passengers and had sent personnel to the scene.

Airlines around the world have used this aircraft model, the ATR 72, for short-haul flights. Introduced by a French and Italian venture in the late 1980s, it has been involved in several fatal accidents over the years.

In 2018, an ATR 72 belonging to the Iranian company Asman Airlines crashed in a mountain area in the middle of fog. All 65 people on board died.

ATR identified the plane that crashed on Sunday as an ATR 72-500 in a tweet. The device is 15 years old and “equipped with an old transponder with unreliable data,” according to data from flightradar24.com, a flight tracking service.

According to Airfleets.net records, it was operated by India’s Kingfisher Airlines and Thailand’s Nok Air before Yeti Airlines joined the fleet in 2019. Eti Airlines has six ATR 72-500 aircraft, company spokesperson Sudarsan Bardaula said.

Pokhara, about 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu, is the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, a popular climbing route in the Himalayas.

Its international airport became operational two weeks ago. It was built with Chinese financial and technical support. The Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Chen Chang, expressed his condolences on the news of the accident on his Twitter page.

Sunday’s accident was Nepal’s worst since 1992. A Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed into a mountainside while trying to land in Kathmandu, killing all 167 people on board.

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Eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Nepal’s Everest, have a definite record of air defense. According to the Aviation Safety Foundation’s Aviation Safety Database, there have been 42 plane crashes in Nepal since 1946.

22 people died when a plane crashed into a mountain in Nepal last year. In 2018, a US-Bangla passenger plane from Bangladesh crashed on landing in Kathmandu, killing 49 of the 71 people on board.

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