Rescue workers are still searching for survivors of yesterday’s plane crash in Nepal, but police say the chances of finding them are slim. Body parts are still found at the crash site.
At least 68 of the 72 people on board were killed in the plane crash near the tourist town of Pokhara. The cause of the disaster is still unclear. Photos on social media show how the plane flies low over land in clear weather near one of the airports in Pokhara and suddenly turns. Soon after, the plane hit the ground and burst into flames.
Since yesterday, a major search and rescue operation has been underway at the disaster site, which is partly in a ravine, with hundreds of aid workers. “We will remove the five bodies still in the ravine and continue to search for the four people who are still missing,” a police official told the Reuters news agency.
Found black boxes
Meanwhile, the black boxes of the twin-engine ATR 72 of Yeti Airlines have also been found, on which flight and conversation data have been recorded. The hope is that they can provide more clarity about the cause of the disaster. The search operation is delayed today by the persistent fog in the gorge.
In addition to the inquiry announced by the government, Prime Minister Prachanda has declared today a day of national mourning. Meanwhile, the bodies of the 53 Nepalis and 15 foreign passengers are being identified and handed over to their relatives.
The foreign residents came from India, Russia, South Korea, Argentina, Ireland, Australia and France. There were also four Yeti Airlines employees on board.
Deadliest plane crash in years
Air disasters are a regular occurrence in Nepal: since the year 2000, nearly 350 people have died in plane and helicopter crashes. The Himalayan country between India and China is very mountainous, which means that planes often have to land on short runways in difficult conditions. Weather conditions in the mountains can also change quickly.
Furthermore, the maintenance of the aircraft is not always in order. Planes from Nepal have not been allowed into European airspace since 2013 because the EU believes that the safety standards of the Nepali fleet must first be improved.
Yesterday’s disaster is the deadliest crash in Nepal since 1992, when 167 people were killed when a Pakistan International Airlines plane crashed into a mountain while trying to land near Kathmandu.
Despite international concerns about the Nepalese navy, the country’s aviation industry has grown rapidly in recent years. Planes and helicopters fly in and out, especially around the climbers’ and hikers’ Valhalla Pokhara. There are many flights to hard-to-reach climbing spots, and Yeti Airlines, for example, makes special panoramic flights from Kathmandu along Mount Everest.