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French ATR 72 Airplane Crashes in Nepal 68 Dead, 4 Missing



ATR 72 Airplane Crashes in Nepal 68 Dead, 4 Missing

Officials in Nepal report at least 67 people were killed when an ATR 72 airplane carrying 72 people crashed on Sunday, the Himalayan country’s deadliest aviation disaster in three decades.

“Thirty-one (bodies) have been taken to hospitals,” an army official told AP, adding that 36 other bodies remained in the 300-meter (600-foot) gorge into which the plane crashed.

The army partially confirmed this, with a spokesman saying 29 bodies had been recovered and 33 more were at Pokhara, central Nepal site.

“Because the plane crashed into a gorge, retrieving the bodies is difficult.” The search and rescue operation is still ongoing. “There have been no survivors found yet,” an army spokesman said.

According to one local official, some survivors were taken to hospitals, but this was not confirmed by the airline Yeti Airlines or others.

Yeti spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula said that 15 foreigners were among the 68 passengers and four crew on board, including five Indians, four Russians, and two Koreans. The remainder were Nepalese.

Social media ablaze in Nepal

On Sunday, shortly before 11:00 a.m., a flight from Kathmandu crashed into the gorge and shattered between Pokhara’s domestic and brand-new international airports (0515 GMT).

After the crash, rescue workers were hosing down parts of the ATR 72 twin-engine turboprop’s wreckage as smoke drifted out of a ravine in front of hundreds of people. The area was littered with what appeared to be aircraft parts, including seats.

Social media footage, which appeared to be shot shortly after the crash, showed raging flames on the ground and black smoke billowing into the sky from debris strewn across the crash site.

Another unconfirmed video clip online showed a plane flying low over a residential area and banking sharply to the left, followed by a loud explosion.

The new international airport in Pokhara, which opened on January 1, is intended to gradually replace the old one built in 1958. Religious pilgrims and international trekkers use the city as a gateway.


Poor safety and insufficient training

Nepal’s air industry has expanded in recent years, transporting goods and people between remote areas and foreign trekkers and climbers.

However, it has suffered from poor safety due to insufficient training and maintenance. Due to safety concerns, the European Union has barred all Nepali airlines from using its airspace.

The Himalayan country also has some of the world’s most remote and difficult runways, flanked by snow-capped peaks and with approaches that even experienced pilots find difficult.

Aircraft operators have stated that Nepal lacks infrastructure for accurate weather forecasts, particularly in remote areas with rugged mountainous terrain, where fatal crashes have occurred.

In the mountains, the weather can also change quickly, creating hazardous flying conditions.


Other plane crashes in Nepal

In May 2022, a plane operated by Nepali carrier Tara Air crashed, killing all 22 people on board — 16 Nepalis, four Indians, and two Germans.

Shortly after taking off from Pokhara and heading for Jomsom, a popular trekking destination, air traffic control lost contact with the twin-propeller Twin Otter.

A day later, its wreckage was discovered strewn across a mountainside at around 14,500 feet (4,400 meters) above sea level.

Following the crash, authorities tightened regulations, requiring planes to fly only if the weather forecast was favorable throughout the route.

A US-Bangla Airlines plane crashed-landed near Kathmandu’s notoriously difficult international airport in March 2018, killing 51 people.

That was Nepal’s deadliest accident since 1992, when a Pakistan International Airlines plane crashed on approach to Kathmandu, killing all 167 people on board.

A Thai Airways plane crashed near the same airport two months before, killing 113 people.

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