At least 68 people were killed on Sunday when a Yeti Airlines flight carrying 72 passengers and crew crashed at Pokhara Airport in Nepal. The bodies of 68 people have been recovered so far and rescue teams are searching for the remaining four, according to Prem Nath Thakur, a spokesperson for Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, which is assisting in the response. The identities of the deceased have yet to be confirmed. The plane, an ATR 72, left Kathmandu at 10:30 am local time and was en route to Pokhara, a 25-minute flight away. The city is known for its serene lake and is popular with tourists.
Police, army, fire and airport rescue services are taking part in the response at the crash site. Nepal’s Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ministry has also announced the creation of a commission to investigate the crash. Two helicopters have also been deployed to the scene of the crash. ATR, the manufacturer of the aircraft, is based in France and has tweeted that its specialists are “fully engaged” to support the investigation into the crash. The company has also confirmed that the accident involved an ATR 72-500 model which can seat 68 passengers and has a range of 888 miles.
This is Nepal’s second plane crash in the past year and Pokhara Airport’s first crash since it opened on January 1st. In May, 22 people, including six foreign nationals, died after a Tara Air flight departing from Pokhara’s old airport crashed into the Himalayan mountainside. Following a meeting of his cabinet, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal declared that Monday would be observed as a national holiday to mourn the victims.