[Update] According to Reuters, at least 68 people have been killed in the Yeti Airlines crash in Nepal. This makes it the worst aircraft crash in the country in 30 years.
An aircraft carrying 72 people crashed in Pokhara, Nepal, on Jan. 15, 2023.
At least 40 people have been killed in Nepal’s worst crash in nearly five years, said a Nepal aviation authority official, reported Reuters.
According to the BBC, rescue operations involving hundreds of Nepalese soldiers are taking place at the crash site, in the gorge of the Seti River — less than 2km away from the airport.
The twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft operated by Yeti Airlines was flying from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, airlines spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Among those onboard include two infants, four crew members and 10 foreign nationals.
A Nepal airport official said that the plane carried five Indians, four Russians, one Irish, two South Korean, one Australian, one French and one Argentinian.
According to Reuters, the plane was said to have last made contact with the airport from Seti Gorge at 10:30am before crashing.
Bartaula also added that the plane crashed between the old and new Pokhara airports.
Plane seen turning sharply before crash
Video of the crash is circulating online, showing thick black smoke spewing from the crash site.
Rescue workers and crowds of people can be seen gathered around the wreckage.
Tragic News coming in.
Plane Crash in Nepal with 72 On-board. Yeti Air (ATR72)
Praying for survivors. 🙏
Incident: 15th Jan, 2023, Pokhra Nepal.#NepalPlaneCrash pic.twitter.com/Vl7mq8osgn
— Aman Dwivedi (@amandwivedi48) January 15, 2023
“Half of the plane is on the hillside,” said a local resident speaking to Reuters.
“The other half has fallen into the gorge of the Seti river.”
Another video appears to show the plane performing a low sharp turn while flying over a populated area.
Video of what seems to be moments before the crash of Yeti Airlines🇳🇵 ATR72 carrying 72 passengers near Pokhara Airport#aerowanderer #aviation #avgeek #nepal #yetiairlines pic.twitter.com/hk12Edlvpf
— Aerowanderer (@aerowanderer) January 15, 2023
15-year-old aircraft involved in crash
Yeti Airlines said on its website that it has six ATR 72 aircrafts in its fleet.
The aircraft involved in the crash is 15 years old, wrote Flightrader 24 in a tweet.
The aircraft involved is a 15 year old ATR 72-500 with registration number 9N-ANC and serial number 754.
This aircraft was equipped with an old transponder with unreliable data. We are downloading high resolution data and verifying the data quality. pic.twitter.com/nnrpnnNnqj
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 15, 2023
Reuters reported that air accidents are not uncommon in Nepal, as weather can change quickly and make for dangerous flying conditions.
According to the BBC, another crash in May 2022 in the northern Nepalese district of Mustang saw 22 people killed.
Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has called an emergency cabinet meeting after the plane crash.
Top photos from Flightmode/Twitter and AmanDwivedi/Twitter