© Reuters. People stand near the wreckage at the crash site of an aircraft carrying 72 people in Pokhara in western Nepal January 15, 2023. REUTERS/Bijay Neupane
By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Rescuers resumed searching on Monday in Nepal for four people still missing after the Himalayan nation’s deadliest plane crash in 30 years, officials said.
Rescuers had recovered 68 bodies out of the 72 people onboard the ATR 72 aircraft operated by Yeti Airlines that crashed in the tourist city of Pokhara minutes before landing on Sunday in clear weather.
The plane, on a scheduled flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, gateway to scenic Annapurna mountain range, was carrying 57 Nepalis, five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one person each from Argentina, Ireland, Australia and France.
Pokhara police official Ajay K.C. said the search-and-rescue operation, which stopped because of darkness on Sunday, had resumed.
“We will take out the five bodies from the gorge and search for the remaining four that are still missing,” he told Reuters.
The other 63 bodies had been sent to a hospital, he said.
Rescuers were also searching for the black boxes – a cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder – as they looked for survivors, said Jagannath Niroula, a spokesperson for Nepal’s civil aviation authority.
Nepal has declared a day of national mourning on Monday and set up a panel to investigate the disaster and suggest measures to avoid such incidents in future.
Authorities said bodies will be handed over to families after identification and examination.
Nearly 350 people have died since 2000 in plane or helicopter crashes in Nepal – home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest – where sudden weather changes can make for hazardous conditions.
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