At least 40 people have been killed after a plane crashed near an airport in Nepal this morning (January 15). The Yeti Airlines flight, which was carrying 72 people from Kathmandu to the tourist town of Pokhara caught on fire as it crash-landed less than 2 kilometres from the airport.
Social media videos show an aircraft flying low over a populated area before spinning sharply. It is thought that there were 68 passengers on board, including at least 15 foreign nationals, and four crew members.
Hundreds of Nepalese soldiers are helping out in the operation at the crash site in the gorge of the Seti River, which is one and a half kilometres from the airport. "We expect to recover more bodies," an army spokesman told Reuters, saying the plane "has broken into pieces".
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has called an emergency meeting and urged state agencies to work on rescue operations. It is understood 53 of the passengers onboard are Nepalese.
Reports indicate there were five Indian, four Russian and two Korean passengers on the plane. There is also believed to be one passenger each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France among others.
The BBC says ‘aviation accidents are not uncommon in Nepal, often due to its remote runways and sudden weather changes that can make for hazardous conditions’.
A Tara Air plane crashed in May 2022 in the northern Nepalese district of Mustang, killing 22 people.
In early 2018, 51 people were killed when a US-Bangla flight travelling from Dhaka to Bangladesh caught fire as it landed in Kathmandu.