At least 68 of the 72 persons on board were killed when a plane conducting a 27-minute journey to a vacation destination in Nepal crashed into a canyon on Sunday while attempting to land at a recently built airfield.
The country’s deadliest airplane crash in three decades was witnessed by at least one eyewitness who heard calls for assistance coming from within the burning wreck.
After nightfall, numerous spectators gathered near the accident site in the tourist town of Pokhara as rescuers searched the debris at the cliff’s edge and in the ravine.
The search for the four missing people was put on hold overnight and scheduled to start again on Monday.
Bishnu Tiwari, a resident who hurried to the crash site near the Seti River to assist in the hunt for remains, claimed that heavy smoke and a blazing fire hindered rescue attempts.
We were unable to approach the wreckage because the flames were so intense.
Tiwari added that the fire and smoke prevented us from assisting the man I overheard pleading for help.
According to Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority, the accident’s cause was not immediately apparent.
From his home’s terrace, a witness claimed to have observed the airplane rapidly spinning in the air as it descended to the ground. Finally, the plane crashed into the gorge to its left, according to Gaurav Gurung.
The aviation authority said the plane last touched the airport at 10:50 a.m. from a location close to Seti Gorge, before the crash.
The twin-engine ATR 72 plane was traveling from Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, to Pokhara, 200 kilometers (125 miles) to the west.
According to a statement from Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority, the aircraft carried 68 passengers, including 15 international nationals and four staff members.
Five Indians, four Russians, and two South Koreans, each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina, and France, were among the outsiders.
Nearly a mile (1.6 kilometers) from Pokhara International Airport, the accident scene was visible in pictures and videos posted on Twitter.
The airplane’s fuselage was torn into several pieces, which fell to the ground.
Senior administrative officer for the Kaski district, Tek Bahadur K. C., predicted that more bodies would be discovered by rescuers at the bottom of the gorge.
After the crash, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal hurried to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport and convened a panel to look into the incident.
“It was a horrible event. The entire Nepali army and police have been sent in to help,” he said.