‘No survivors’ in Nepal plane crash, official says


KATHMANDU, Nepal — There are “no survivors” from the Yeti Airlines plane that crashed near Nepal’s new Pokhara Airport on Sunday, authorities said.

Tek Bahadur K.C., chief district officer of Kaski District, said in a phone interview that the authorities were “trying to recover four bodies from the Seti River Gorge,” which he said was nearly 1,000 feet deep.

The four bodies were the last people who had been unaccounted for after officials said Sunday that at least 68 of the 72 people on the plane had died. The flight had departed from the capital, Kathmandu, around 10:30 a.m. local time Sunday bound for Pokhara, a city about 125 miles west of Kathmandu popular with tourists.

The flight was expected to be about 25 minutes, and authorities were alerted of the crash about 11 a.m., Assistant Sub Inspector Rudra Thapa of the Pokhara police said Sunday.

At least 68 dead after plane carrying 72 crashes near Nepal airport

Rescuers reached the crash site at the gorge early Monday after halting the rescue mission that evening when night fell. They were also attempting to retrieve the plane’s black box, K.C. said.

The cause of the crash was not clear Monday, which was declared a national day of mourning.

Video footage showed the aircraft, an ATR 72-500 twin-engine turboprop propeller plane, flying low and tilting to its side seconds before it went down on Sunday. Other videos posted online showed the plane on fire, with large plumes of smoke emerging from the crash site as dozens of people crowded around it.

Bodies of Nepali victims who have been identified will be relinquished to families after postmortem examinations are completed, K.C. said. Bodies of foreigners that have been identified will be airlifted to Kathmandu on Monday, he added.

According to an airline statement, at least 53 Nepali nationals and 15 foreign nationals were on the flight, including five from India, four from Russia, two from South Korea, one from Argentina, one from Australia, one from France and one from Ireland.

Nearly 350 people have died in plane or helicopter crashes in Nepal since 2000, Reuters reported, and the European Union banned all Nepal-based airlines from its airspace since 2013, citing safety concerns.

In May of last year, 22 people were killed in a crash on a flight involving another twin-propeller plane operated by Tara Air, a subsidiary of Yeti Airlines. The plane departed from Pokhara’s old airport and was headed for Jomson, a tourist town about 20 minutes away.

Pietsch and Kasulis Cho reported from Seoul. Leo Sands contributed to this report from London.

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