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Police say it is unlikely there are survivors in Nepal’s plane crash

by THE GULF TALK

Hopes of finding survivors from Nepal’s worst air disaster in decades are fading, police say.

“It’s unlikely there will be any survivors,” spokesperson Tek Prasad Rai said. Teams were finding body parts at the scene, he added.

At least 68 people died when a flight from Kathmandu to the tourist town of Pokhara crashed and caught fire on Sunday morning.

It is still unclear what caused the crash.

Mobile phone footage showed the Yeti Airlines flight rolling sharply as it approached the airport. It then hit the ground in the gorge of the Seti River, just over a kilometre from the airport.

There were 72 passengers and crew on board the flight.

On Monday some 300 rescuers resumed their search, combing through the charred wreckage.

The prime minister of Nepal has declared Monday a National Day of Mourning, and the government set up a panel to investigate the cause of the disaster.

A lack of investment in new aircraft and poor regulation have also been blamed in the past.

The European Union has banned Nepalese airlines from its airspace over concerns about training and maintenance standards.

In May 2022 a Tara Air plane crashed in northern Nepal, killing 22 people. Four years earlier 51 people were killed when a flight travelling from Bangladesh caught fire as it landed in Kathmandu.

Chiranjibi Paudel, whose journalist brother Tribhuvan was on the flight, said action had to be taken to improve aviation safety in Nepal.

“The airlines should be penalised and the regulatory body of the government also should be held accountable,” he said.

The plane came down close to the newly built Pokhara International Airport, which only opened at the start of the year.

Travellers at the airport said that they fly regularly and still feel safe after today’s news – short plane journeys are a popular way for Nepal’s middle classes to travel across the country.

“I’m not scared of flying,” said Ria who was waiting for her bags to arrive, “but there needs to be better regulations and newer aircraft.”

The Yeti Airlines flight from Kathmandu to the tourist town of Pokhara left the Nepalese capital just after 10:30 (04:45 GMT) for what should have been a short trip.

It had 68 passengers on board, including at least 15 foreign nationals, and four crew members.

Of the passengers, 53 were said to be Nepalese. There were five Indian, four Russians and two Koreans on the plane. There was also one passenger each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France among others.

Khum Bahadur Chhetri, a local resident, told Reuters that he was observing the flight from the roof of his home as it approached the airport.

“I saw the plane trembling, moving left and right, and then suddenly it nosedived and it went into the gorge,” added.

News source: BBC

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