At least 32 killed in a Yeti Airlines plane crash in Pokhara, Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal

At least 32 people were killed Sunday when a plane crashed near central Nepal’s Pokhara, an airline spokesman said.

Seventy-two people – four crew members and 68 passengers – were on board the ATR-72 plane operated by Nepal’s Yeti Airlines when it crashed, Yeti Airlines spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula said.

The country’s civil aviation authorities said 53 of the passengers and four crew members were Nepalis. 15 foreign citizens were also traveling in the plane: five Indians, four Russians and two Koreans. The rest are individual citizens of Australia, Argentina, France and Ireland.

The district police and the district administration are conducting a rescue operation and hope to rescue at least a few survivors, said Tek Bahadur KC, the chief district officer of Kaski.

He said 32 dead bodies are already in Gandaki Hospital.

The plane was flying from the capital Kathmandu to Pokhara, about 129 kilometers (80 miles) west of the capital, the country’s state media The Rising Nepal reported.

Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said he was “deeply saddened by the sad and tragic incident”.

“I sincerely appeal to the security officials, all agencies of the Government of Nepal and the general public to start an effective rescue,” Dahal said on Twitter.

The Himalayan nation of Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Mount Everest, has a record for air accidents. The weather can change suddenly and the tracks are usually located in difficult-to-access mountainous areas.

Last May, a Tara Air flight with 22 people crashed into a Himalayan mountain at an altitude of about 14,500 feet. According to Aviation Safety Network database.

This is a developing story. More to come.

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