Moments after an aircraft crashed in Nepal Sunday morning, killing at least 68 of the 72 passengers aboard, gut-wrenching footage showed the plane engulfed in flames, and black smoke billowing above the wreckage.
Clips of the horrifying aftermath posted online showed the wreckage still ablaze as rescue workers recovered bodies from a gorge the plane crashed into while landing at a newly opened airport in the resort town of Pokhara.
The chilling images showed scores of rescue workers, Nepali soldiers and onlookers gathered at the site of the crash — the Himalayan country’s deadliest airplane accident in three decades.
Other harrowing clips posted on Twitter showed a plane flying at a dangerously low altitude over a residential area turning sharply left before a loud explosion.
Flight operator Yeti Airlines confirmed there were 72 people aboard – 68 passengers and four crew. Among the passengers were 15 foreign nationals, including one Australian, one French, one Argentinian, four Russians, five Indians, two South Koreans and one person from Ireland. Two infants were also on board, the Kathmandu Post reported.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said the plane was flying from the capital, Kathmandu, to Pokhara in central Nepal when it crashed. It was not immediately clear what caused the accident.
Dahal, who rushed to the airport after the crash, has set up a panel to investigate the grim accident’s cause.
“The incident was tragic. The full force of the Nepali army, police has been deployed for rescue,” he said.
Weather can change suddenly in Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest, that can make air travel difficult.
Sunday’s crash is Nepal’s deadliest since 1992, when all 167 passengers aboard a Pakistan International Airlines flight were killed when the plane crashed into a hill. There have been 42 fatal plane crashes in Nepal since 1946, according to the Flight Safety Foundation’s Aviation Safety database.
With Post wires
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