After the tragic air crash on Sunday (15), Nepal today declared national mourning. The plane’s black box was found in the last few hours by the authorities who reported that the death toll is at least 68 people. Although 72 people were on board, hope of finding survivors is slim to none. Rescue teams continue, however, to search for bodies at the scene.
“We have collected 68 bodies so far. We are looking for four more,” said Tek Bahadur, head of Taksi district, where the plane crashed. “We pray for a miracle, but the hope of finding anyone alive is nil.”
According to the same source, both the black box of the cockpit, as for recording the flight data were found in good condition. The information is from the Reuters news agency, which adds that the causes of the accident have not yet been determined.
One witness, who filmed the plane crash from his balcony, said he saw the aircraft fly low before turning suddenly to the left.
“I was shocked,” said Diwas Bohora, quoted by the Associated Press news agency.
The cause of the accident is not yet known, but according to a video posted on social media by a passenger, the twin-engine veered sharply to the left when approaching Pokhara airport.
Nepal has some of the most isolated runways in the world, flanked by high mountains, making landings a challenge even for experienced pilots. Furthermore, the climate also changes rapidly in mountainous regions, creating even more challenging flying conditions.
In May 2022, the crash of a twin-engine Twin Otter, from the Nepalese company Tara Air, killed 22 people shortly after takeoff from Pokhara. The wreckage was found a day later on the side of a mountain, about 4,400 meters above sea level.
The worst air disaster in Nepal’s history, however, occurred in September 1992. All 167 occupants of a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A300 were killed when the plane crashed on approach to Kathmandu.
The country’s Civil Aviation Authority said the Yeti Airlines ATR 72 aircraft last made contact with the airport near the Seti pass in the center of the country at 10:50 am (local time). The plane had left the capital Kathmandu bound for Pokhara, around 10:30 am (local time), and crashed during the approach maneuver at Pokhara International Airport, in the Seti River valley.
Pokhara, located 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu, is the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, a popular hiking trail in the Himalayas.
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Translated to english by RJ983
From Brazil, by EBC News