Nepal plane crash updates | 68 bodies recovered from Pokhara crash site, say officials; five Indians among 72 onboard

A Nepal Army spokesperson said the aircraft crashed into a gorge so it is difficult to bring the bodies. No survivors have been found yet, said spokesman Krishna Prasad Bhandari

January 15, 2023 11:32 am | Updated January 16, 2023 07:59 am IST

Rescue teams work to retrieve bodies from the wreckage at the crash site of an aircraft carrying 72 people in Pokhara in western Nepal on January 15, 2023.

Rescue teams work to retrieve bodies from the wreckage at the crash site of an aircraft carrying 72 people in Pokhara in western Nepal on January 15, 2023. | Photo Credit: Reuters

At least 68 people were killed after a Nepal passenger plane with 72 people onboard crashed into a river gorge on January 15 while landing at the Pokhara airport.

“So far, dead bodies of 68 people have been recovered from the crash site,” an official at the Search and Rescue, Coordination Committee of the CAAN told PTI.

However, the dead bodies are yet to be identified, he added. Efforts are on to recover four more bodies, he said.

The aircraft belonging to Yeti Airlines had four crew members and at least fifteen foreigners on board. There were five Indians among passengers in the ill-fated aircraft that crashed in Pokhara, Nepal aviation official confirmed to The Hindu.

Also read: Nepal plane crash | Five Indians onboard aircraft, confirms Embassy

10:35 p.m.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal condoles loss of lives in Nepal plane crash

At least 68 people were killed when a Nepalese passenger plane with 72 people, including five Indians. CM Arvind Kejriwal expressed his grief via a tweet. He said, “The air crash incident that happened in Nepal is extremely tragic. My condolences to all those families who lost their loved ones in the tragic incident. May God give all the affected families strength and courage.” - PTI

10:31 p.m.

Yeti Airlines cancels regular flights for Jan 17

After the ATR-72 Yeti Airlines flight crashed in Nepal’s Pokhara, the airline said that to mourn the passengers who lost their lives, the regular flights for Monday will be cancelled.

The airlines shared the official statement on Twitter. It said, “In mourning for the passengers who lost their lives in the accident of Yeti Airlines 9N ANC ATR 72 500, we would like to inform you that all regular flights of Yeti Airlines for 16th January 2023 have been cancelled.”

“However, emergency and rescue flights will resume. We apologize for the inconvenience caused,” it added. - ANI

10:20 p.m.

Four of the five Indians killed in a plane crash

Four of the five Indians killed in a plane crash in Nepal on Sunday hailed from Ghazipur district in Uttar Pradesh, officials said.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath condoled the deaths and said officials have been directed to coordinate with the Ministry of External affairs to bring the mortal remains of the deceased to the state. - PTI

5:55 p.m.

4 Bodies yet to be found - Nepal aviation official

68 dead bodies recovered from the air crash site. 4 yet to be found. - Nepal aviation official source to The Hindu.

4.50 p.m.

Nepali authorities to conduct technical inspection for all domestic flights

The Nepal government has instructed concerned authorities to conduct a technical inspection of all domestic flights after a Nepal passenger plane with 72 people on board crashed into a river gorge during landing at the newly-opened Pokhara airport on Sunday, killing at least 68 people.

The Cabinet meeting held in Baluwatar to assess the situation after Yeti Airlines’ 9N-ANC ATR-72 aircraft crash also formed a five-member investigation commission under the leadership of former aviation secretary Nagendra Ghimire to probe the accident. - PTI

4.45 p.m.

Pokhara airport inaugurated two weeks ago and built with Chinese assistance

The Pokhara International Airport, which witnessed the fatal crash of a Nepalese passenger plane with 72 people onboard on Sunday, was inaugurated two weeks ago by Nepal’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and built with Chinese assistance.

The airport was officially inaugurated on January 1, 2023. The flagship project was part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation.

The Nepal government signed a $215.96 million soft loan agreement with China in March 2016 for the construction of the airport in this tourist hub, according to Kathmandu Post newspaper.

Last year, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi handed over the Pokhara Regional International Airport to the then Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, during a courtesy call held at Baluwatar. - PTI

4.30 p.m.

Toll rises to 68

At least 68 bodies recovered from Nepal plane crash site in Pokhara, PTI quoted a rescue official as saying.

4.10 p.m.

Plane crash due to technical reasons: Nepal aviation authority

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the airplane had received permission to land, MyRepublica newspaper reported.

“Weather was not a problem, preliminary information has been received that the plane crashed due to technical reasons. Information has been received that flames were seen in the plane while it was still air-borne,” Gyanendra Bhul, information officer at CANN, was quoted as saying in the report.

“The plane would have reached the runway in 10 seconds. However, it met with an accident mid-way,” the airport’s air traffic controller told MyRepublica newspaper. - PTI

4 p.m.

No survivors found yet: Nepal Army spokesman 

A Nepal Army spokesperson said 29 bodies had been retrieved so far and that there were 33 more at the crash site in Pokhara in central Nepal.

“The aircraft crashed into a gorge so it is difficult to bring the bodies. Search and rescue is ongoing. No survivors have been found yet,” army spokesman Krishna Prasad Bhandari told AFP.

One local official said that some survivors had been taken to hospital - but this was not confirmed by either the airline Yeti Airlines or others.

3.55 p.m.

EAM Jaishankar condoles loss of lives in Nepal plane crash

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Sunday condoled the loss of lives in Pokhara plane crash in Nepal and said “our thoughts are with the affected families”.

“Deeply grieved on hearing about the air crash in Pokhara, Nepal. Our thoughts are with the affected families,” Mr. Jaishankar said in a tweet.

3.45 p.m.

Toll in Yeti plane crash rises to 67

At least 67 people are confirmed dead after a plane carrying 72 people crashed in Nepal on Sunday, police said.

“Thirty-one (bodies) have been taken to hospitals,” police official A.K. Chhetri told AFP, adding that 36 other bodies were found in the gorge where the aircraft crashed.

3.30 p.m.

Five Indians onboard identified

Five Indians were among the 15 foreign nationals onboard the crashed Yeti Airlines plane on Sunday, the Indian Embassy in Nepal tweeted. Their fate is not immediately known.

They have been identified as Abhisekh Kushwaha, Bishal Sharma, Anil Kumar Rajbhar, Sonu Jaiswal and Sanjaya Jaiswal, a Yeti Airlines official said.

“An ATR-72 plane of Yeti Airlines crashed today near the Pokhara Airport while flying from Kathmandu. According to the info provided by Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, 5 Indians were travelling on this flight. Rescue operations are underway,” the Indian mission tweeted.

3.20 p.m.

Nepal government declares national mourning on Monday

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on Sunday afternoon held an emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers following the crash.

The emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers has decided to announce a public holiday on January 16 to mourn the victims of the Yeti Airlines plane crash.

3.05 p.m.

Yeti aircraft was 15 years old, says report

The twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft, operated by Nepal’s Yeti Airlines, was carrying 68 passengers, including 15 foreign nationals, and four crew members, Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement.

According to plane tracking data from flightradar24.com, the aircraft was 15 years old and “equipped with an old transponder with unreliable data.” - AP

3 p.m.

Cause of Yeti plane crash yet to be ascertained

Rescuers scoured the crash site near the Seti River, which is about 1.6 kilometers away from Pokhara International Airport, using ropes to pull out bodies from the wreckage, parts of which were hanging over the edge of the gorge.

Tek Bahadur K. C., a senior administrative officer in the Kaski district, said he expected rescue workers to find more bodies at the bottom of the gorge.

It was not immediately clear what caused the plane to crash.

2.40 p.m.

Panel formed to probe Yeti plane crash

The Nepal government on Sunday formed a five-member commission of inquiry to probe Yeti Airlines plane crash, PTI reported.

Local TV showed rescue workers scrambling around broken sections of the aircraft. Some of the ground near the crash site was scorched, with licks of flames visible.

2.35 p.m.

At least 15 foreigners among 72 onboard: Yeti airline

Fifteen foreigners were among the 72 people onboard a plane that crashed in Nepal on Sunday, Yeti Airlines said.

They included five people from India, four Russians, two Koreans, and one person each from Australia, Argentina, Ireland and France, spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula said. - AFP

2.30 p.m.

Toll rises to 40

The toll in the plane crash at Pokhara airport has increased to 40, reported Reuters. Hundreds of rescue workers were scouring the hillside where the Yeti Airlines flight, carrying 72 people from the capital Kathmandu, went down.

The weather was clear, said Jagannath Niroula, spokesman for Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority.

2.20 p.m.

Indian embassy issues helpline numbers

Indian embassy in Kathmandu has put out the numbers for public outreach.

Helpline of Embassy: 1 Kathmandu: Shri Diwakar Sharma +977-9851107021 2. Pokhara Lt Col Shashank Tripathi: +977-9856037699. “Embassy is in touch with local authorities and is monitoring the situation,” said the embassy in its message.

2 p.m.

Monitoring the situation: Indian Embassy in Nepal

The Indian embassy in Nepal has said it is in touch with local authorities and is monitoring the situation. “An ATR-72 plane of Yeti Airlines crashed today near the Pokhara Airport while flying from Kathmandu. According to the info provided by Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, 5 Indians were travelling on this flight. Rescue operations are underway. The embassy is in touch with their family. Our emergency hotline number :+977-9851107021,” it tweeted.

1.15 p.m.

At least 32 killed, five Indians among passengers

At least 32 people died on Sunday in Nepal, where an aircraft of domestic carrier Yeti Airlines crashed in Pokhara. The flight carried five Indians among passengers, an official of Nepal Airport told The Hindu.

The plane was carrying 68 passengers and four crew members, the daily newspaper Kathmandu Post reported, quoting a spokesperson for Yeti Airlines.

1 p.m.

PM Prachanda directs effective rescue operations following Pokhara plane crash

Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda on Sunday instructed security personnel and all government agencies to carry out effective rescue operations after a Nepal passenger plane with 72 people onboard crashed near the Pokhara airport. - PTI

12.30 p.m.

Nepal PM calls emergency cabinet meeting after plane crash

After news of the plane, carrying about 72 people from capital Kathmandu that crashed in Pokhara this morning, broke the country’s prime minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, called an emergency cabinet meeting.

Relatives of a crashed passenger plane wail at Katmandhu airport, Nepal, on January 15, 2023.

Relatives of a crashed passenger plane wail at Katmandhu airport, Nepal, on January 15, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

The plane also had one Australian, one French and one Argentinian onboard, Reuters quoted Nepal Airport official as saying.

While landing at the Pokhara airport, the aircraft crashed on the bank of the Seti River between the old airport and the new airport.

Nepal’s Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, in a tweet said he was deeply saddened by the accident and directed all agencies of the Nepal government to start an effective rescue. Following the crash, the prime minister called an emergency cabinet meeting, Reuters reported.

He has reached the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.

Pokhara, Nepal

Nepal passenger aircraft carrying 72 onboard crashes at Pokhara airport

A 72-seat Nepal passenger aircraft crashed into a gorge while landing at a newly opened airport in the central resort town of Pokhara on Sunday, killing at least 32 people, an official said.

Rescuers were scouring the crash site near the Seti River, which is nearly a mile (1.6 kilometers) away from Pokhara International Airport, and were expecting to find more bodies, said Tek Bahadur K. C., a senior administrative officer in the Kaski district.

It was not immediately clear what caused the plane to crash.

The twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft operated by Nepal’s Yeti Airlines was carrying 68 passengers, including 15 foreign nationals, and four crew members, Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement. The foreigners included five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France.

Last year, 22 people died when a plane crashed on a mountainside in Nepal. In 2018, a US-Bangla passenger plane from Bangladesh crashed on landing in Kathmandu, killing 49 of the 71 people aboard.- AP

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia condoled the loss of lives in the plane crash in Pokhara.

“The loss of lives in a tragic plane crash in Nepal is extremely unfortunate. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the bereaved. Om Shanti,” tweeted Mr. Scindia.

(With inputs from agencies)

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