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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Plane with 72 passengers crashed in Nepal, at least dozens killed

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A plane with 68 passengers and four crew members on board crashed in the Nepalese city of Pokhara on Sunday. At least 44 people died in the accident, but the death toll is likely to be higher.

Almost all occupants did not survive the crash. Local police say some survivors have been taken to hospital.

It concerns an aircraft of the local airline Yeti Airlines. The passengers included two young children and a number of people with foreign identities. It concerns five people from India, four Russians, two people from South Korea, and passengers from Ireland, Australia, France, and Argentina.

There are about 300 police and military personnel at the scene of the wreck. “We expect to get more bodies out of the plane,” an army spokesman told Reuters news agency. The plane broke into pieces, he said.

The plane was en route from the capital Kathmandu to Pokhara and crashed into the hills. It is still unclear how the accident could have happened. Images are circulating on social media showing that a large conflagration is raging at the site of the crash.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is currently holding an emergency meeting with his cabinet. He calls on aid workers and residents in the area to help with the rescue operation.

According to Reuters, this is the deadliest crash since 2018. In that year, a plane crashed near Kathmandu, killing 51 of the 71 people on board. Airplane accidents occur more often in Nepal, partly because the weather in the mountainous country can change quickly. This does not seem to be the cause this time: a spokesman for the Nepalese aviation authority says that it was clear at the time of the disaster.

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