Nepal Plane Crash Believed to Have Killed 72 People

Wreckage at the scene of the crash

72 People are believed to have died in Nepal’s biggest aviation disaster in 30 years, after a plane crashed during its approach to the city of Pokhara in the center of the country.

Authorities confirmed the death of 68 people, and expressed little hope of any positive outcome for the remaining four unaccounted for.

“Thirty-one [bodies] have been transported to hospitals,” said AK Chhetri, a police official, adding that another 36 were still in the 300-meter-deep valley where the plane crashed near Pokhara in central Nepal.

The army reported that 66 dead were recovered from the crash debris, but rescue efforts were impeded by the rugged terrain. “Because the plane crashed into a ravine, it is impossible to retrieve the bodies. Rescue efforts are ongoing. “At this time, no survivors have been discovered,” stated army spokesman Krishna Prasad Bhandari.

Hundreds of army and police rescuers were dispatched to the location. The rescue operation was terminated on Sunday evening, although authorities reported that more bodies remain to be recovered.

It was the greatest aviation accident in Nepal since 1992, when 167 people were killed when a Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed as it approached Kathmandu.

Yeti Airlines, which operated the trip, verified that 68 passengers and four crew members were onboard. An airport officer reported that there were 15 international nationals among the passengers, including one Australian, one French, one Argentinian, four Russians, five Indians, two South Koreans, and one person from Ireland.