An aeroplane crashed on Sunday in central Nepal, near the city of Pokhara, killing at least 64 people, according to a government official.
According to Yeti Airlines spokeswoman Sudarshan Bartaula, 72 persons were aboard the ATR-72 aircraft that crashed, including four crew members and 68 passengers. According to Nepal’s civil aviation authorities, there were 37 males, 25 women, three children, and three newborns.
The final eight passengers are still being sought after by search teams, but Fanindra Mani Pokharal, the joint secretary of Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs, told CNN that they are “losing hope” of finding them alive.
An official from the area had earlier expressed the hope some survivors might be found.
Among the dead is at least one infant, according to the Nepal’s civil aviation authority.
The civil aviation authority said that 53 of the passengers and all four crew members were Nepali. Fifteen foreign nationals were on the plane as well: five were Indian, four were Russian and two were Korean. The rest were individual citizens of Australia, Argentina, France and Ireland.
According to CNN News, the aircraft had been flying from the capital of Kathmandu to Pokhara, the country’s second-most populous city, the country’s state media The Rising Nepal reported. Pokahara is located some 129 kilometers (80 miles) west of Kathmandu.
The plane was last in contact with Pokhara airport at about 10:50 a.m. local time, about 18 minutes after takeoff. It then went down in the nearby Seti River Gorge. First responders from the Nepal Army and various police departments have been deployed to the crash site and are carrying out a rescue operation, the civil aviation authorities said in a statement.
The Himalayan country of Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest, has a record of air accidents. Its weather can change suddenly and airstrips are typically sited in difficult-to-reach mountainous areas.
Last May, a Tara Air flight carrying 22 people crashed into a Himalayan mountain at an altitude of about 14,500 feet. That was the country’s 19th plane crash in 10 years and its 10th fatal one during the same period, according to the Aviation Safety Network database.
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