Deadly plane crash in Nepal kills 69

At least 69 are confirmed dead after a plane crash in Nepal, one of the deadliest the country has seen in 30 years.

There are no known survivors among the 72 passengers and crew.

Plane crash kills 69

It was to be a short journey, just 27 minutes from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu to Pokhara, a touristy hub and gateway to hiking in the Himalayas. But for reasons that remain unclear, the Yeti Airlines ATR-72 craft spun out of control as it prepared to land and slammed into a gorge, bursting into flames.

Rescue workers have been searching for survivors in the 1000-foot ravine, to no avail.

The tragedy was captured from numerous vantage points, including, most harrowingly, the plane’s cabin, where one of the doomed passengers was livestreaming just moments before the crash. One man who saw the disaster unfold from the ground believed he would not survive it.

“I saw that and I was shocked… I thought that today everything will be finished here after it crashes, I will also be dead,” said Diwas Bohora.

Day of mourning

Some brave locals rushed in to help but were deterred by the smoke billowing from the crash site.

“A few of us rushed to see if we can rescue anybody. I saw at least two women were breathing. The fire was getting very intense and it made it difficult for us to approach closer,” Arun Tamu, a witness and former solider, told AFP.

The foreign passengers included five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France. Nepal has declared a day of mourning.

“The incident was tragic. The full force of the Nepali army, police has been deployed for rescue,” the country’s prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said.

Investigation underway

Investigators are working to determine what caused the incident, which occurred on a clear, mild day. The pilot did not indicate anything was wrong before the crash.

In an eerie twist of fate, the co-pilot was the widow of a man who died in a crash sixteen years ago while piloting another plane for Yeti Airlines.

Nepal is known for its rickety air travel. Another crash in May involving the Nepali carrier Tara Air killed 22 people.

The European Union has banned Nepalese planes from its airspace over safety concerns.