At least 40 people were killed on Sunday when an aircraft crashed near central Nepal’s Pokhara city, officials confirmed, adding that the death toll could rise.
Hundreds of rescue workers continued to scour the hillside site where the plane of domestic carrier Yeti Airlines, flying from the capital Kathmandu, went down, Reuters reported
Seventy-two people, including four crew members, were on board the ATR-72 plane operated by Nepal’s Yeti Airlines when it crashed, Yeti Airlines spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula was quoted in the media as saying.
According to Nepal’s civil aviation authority, 53 of the passengers and all four crew members were Nepali. Fifteen foreign nationals were on the plane as well: five were Indian, four were Russian and two were Korean. The rest were individual citizens of Australia, Argentina, France and Ireland.
CNN reported that the district police and the district administration office are carrying out a rescue operation and hope to rescue at least a few survivors.
The aircraft had been flying from the capital of 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 Nepal government and the general public to start an effective rescue,” Dahal said on Twitter.
The Himalayan country of Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest, has a record of air accidents. Its weather can change suddenly and airstrips are typically sited in difficult-to-reach mountainous areas.