Disasters & Accidents

3 remain missing in Nepal plane crash that killed 69

Kathmandu, Jan 16 (EFE).- Rescuers Monday recovered one body from the wreckage of a plane that crashed a day ago in Nepal, taking the death toll to 69 while three remaining missing as search operations were called off for the day, official sources told EFE.

The ATR-72 aircraft operated by Yeti Airlines crashed around 10.30 am on Sunday in the Pokhara district, a popular tourist destination around 200 km west of the capital.

Tek Bahadur KC, chief district officer of Kaski, told EFE the rescue operations would resume on Tuesday.

“There are no survivors though. We are working hard to recover the three missing bodies which are in the deep gorge,” he said.

“It’s 300 meters deep and has narrow access. It requires supplemental oxygen to go inside. We are using all equipment to make the mission possible,” he added.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal said in a press statement that a team of forensic experts were flown to Pokhara from Kathmandu to identify the victims on Monday.

So far, 41 of the 69 bodies recovered have been identified.

The search and rescue team also recovered the black box of the ATR 72 aircraft and handed it over to the investigation commission on Monday.

“Both cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) have been recovered from the crash site,” Prem Nath Thakur, a member of a rescue coordination committee of the government, told EFE.

CVR records the audio environment in the cockpit, mostly conversation between pilots while FDR records data from the aircraft through sensors, which are helpful during a crash investigation.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, there were 68 passengers – 53 Nepalis, five Indians, four Russians, one Irish, one Australian, one Argentinian, two Koreans and one French – and four crew members on board.

Nepal, which houses eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Mt Everest, has a poor flight safety record and witnesses accidents frequently.

The country has been criticized and sanctioned due to the lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities, with the European Union denying Nepalese airlines access to its airspace since 2013.

The worst air crash in Nepal in recent years occurred in March 2018, when a Bangladeshi airline AS-Bangla aircraft crashed during landing at Kathmandu International Airport, in which 51 people died. EFE


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