At least 44 people were killed on Sunday when an aircraft of domestic carrier Yeti Airlines crashed in Pokhara in Nepal, a Nepal aviation authority official said. There were reportedly 72 people onboard, including two infants, four crew members and 10 foreign nationals.
“Rescue operations are on,” said Jagannath Niroula, spokesman for Nepal civil aviation authority. “Weather was clear.”
Local television showed thick black smoke billowing from the crash site as rescue workers and crowds of people gathered around the wreckage of the aircraft.
72 passengers were on board. Plane crash at Pokhra International Airport. pic.twitter.com/igBoObcCDm
— Aishwarya Paliwal (@AishPaliwal) January 15, 2023
There were 72 people on the twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft operated by Nepal’s Yeti Airlines, including two infants and four crew members, said airline spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula.
The plane also had five Indians, four Russians, one Irish, two South Korean, one Australian, one French and one Argentinian national onboard, a Nepal airport official said.
Hundreds of rescue workers were scouring the hillside crash site.
The plane was 15 years old, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24.
The ATR72 is a widely used twin engine turboprop plane manufactured by a joint venture of Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo. Yeti Airlines has a fleet of six such planes, according to its website.
Moments before the unfortunate Nepal crash earlier today.
Source: Nepal media https://t.co/6QrOy9nhCz pic.twitter.com/257qAnKhyw
— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) January 15, 2023
Air accidents are not uncommon in Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest, as the weather can change suddenly and make for hazardous conditions.
Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has called an emergency cabinet meeting after the plane crash, a government statement said.