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40 killed as plane crashes in Nepal

A domestic flight has crashed in the central Nepalis town of Pokhara, killing at least 40 people, according to an aviation authority official.

The disaster, which occurred on Sunday, is the Himalayan country’s deadliest crash in half a decade.

Hundreds of rescue workers were scouring the hillside where the plane, which was carrying 72 passengers and crew from the capital, Kathmandu, went down.

Yeti Airlines, the operators of the flight, confirmed there were 72 people onboard – 68 passengers and four crew.

According to an airport official, the foreign nationals onboard included: one Australian, one French, one Argentinian, four Russians, five Indians, two South Koreans and one person from the Irish Republic.

“We expect to recover more bodies,” an army spokesperson, Krishna Bhandari, said. “The plane has broken into pieces.”

According to a Reuters report, The plane crashed between the old and new Pokhara airports in central Nepal. 

Footage shared on social media, which appeared to be shot just after the crash, showed raging flames on the ground and black smoke billowing into the sky from debris strewn across the crash site.

Another unverified clip shared online showed a plane flying at a low altitude over a residential area banking sharply to the left, followed by a loud explosion.

The wreckage was on fire and rescue workers were trying to put out the blaze, local official Gurudutta Dhakal said.

Responders have already reached there and are trying to douse the fire,” Mr Dhakal said.

“All agencies are now focused on first dousing the fire and rescuing the passengers.”

The twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft was flying from Kathmandu, the Himalayan country’s capital, an airport official said.

After news of the crash broke, the country’s prime minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, called an emergency cabinet meeting.

According to Nepal’s aviation authority, the ill-fated aircraft made contact with the airport from Seti Gorge at 10:50am (0505 GMT). “Then it crashed.”

The crash is Nepal’s deadliest since March 2018, when a US-Bangla Dash 8 turboprop flight from Dhaka crashed on landing in Kathmandu, killing 51 of the 71 people on board, according to Aviation Safety Network.

Writing by Fany Olumoye; Editing by Tony Okerafor