At least 32 people were killed when a plane crashed near Pokhara in central Nepal on Sunday, a spokesman for the airline said.
At least one infant was among the dead, according to the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority.
Yeti Airlines spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula said 72 people — four crew members and 68 passengers — were on board the ATR-72 aircraft operated by Nepal’s Yeti Airlines when it crashed. Aviation authorities reported 37 men, 25 women, 3 children and 3 infants.
Authorities said 53 passengers and all four crew members were Nepalese. There were also 15 foreigners on board: five Indians, four Russians and two South Koreans. The rest are individual citizens of Australia, Argentina, France and Ireland.
The plane was flying from the capital, Kathmandu, to Pokhara, about 129 kilometers (80 miles) west of the capital, according to the country’s state-run Rising Nepal newspaper.
The plane last made contact with Pokhara airport at around 10:50 am local time, about 18 minutes after takeoff. It then descends in the nearby Seti River Gorge. First responders from the Nepal Army and various police departments have been deployed to the crash site and rescue operations are ongoing, Nepal’s civil aviation authority said in a statement.
They hope to save at least some survivors, Kaski district chief officer Tek Bahadur KC said. There are now 32 dead bodies at Gandaki Hospital, he said.
Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said he was “deeply saddened by the tragic accident”.
“I sincerely appeal to security personnel, all Nepal government agencies and the public for an effective rescue,” Dahal said on Twitter.
The Himalayan nation of Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 tallest peaks, including Mount Everest, has been the site of a plane crash. Its weather can change suddenly, and airstrips are often located in hard-to-reach mountainous areas.
Last May, a Tara Air flight with 22 people on board crashed in the Himalayas at an altitude of about 14,500 feet. It was the country’s 19th crash in 10 years and its 10th deadly in the same period, according to the Aviation Safety Network database.
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