At least 32 people were killed Sunday when a plane crashed near Pokhara in central Nepal, a company spokesman said.
Sudarshan Partola, a spokesman for Yeti Airlines, said 72 people – four crew members and 68 passengers – were on board the ATR-72 operated by Nepal Airlines when it crashed.
The country’s Civil Aviation Authority said 53 of the passengers and all four crew members were Nepalese. There were also fifteen foreigners on board: five Indians, four Russians and two Koreans. The remainder were individual citizens of Australia, Argentina, France and Ireland.
The district police and district administration office are carrying out a rescue operation and hope to save at least a few survivors, said Tek Bahadur KS, chief district officer of Kaski.
He said 32 dead bodies are now in Gandaki Hospital.
The country’s official newspaper, The Rising Nepal, reported that the plane was en route from the capital, Kathmandu, to Pokhara, about 129 kilometers (80 miles) west of the capital.
Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said he was “extremely saddened by the unfortunate and tragic incident”.
“I sincerely appeal to the security personnel, all Nepali government agencies and the general public to start an effective rescue operation,” Dahal said on Twitter.
Himalayan Nepal, which is home to eight of the 14 highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, has a record of air accidents. The weather can change suddenly and airstrips are usually located in mountainous areas that are difficult to access.
Last May, a Tara Air flight carrying 22 passengers It hit the Himalayas at about 14,500 feet. It was the 19th plane crash in the country in 10 years and the 10th fatal over the same period, according to Aviation Safety Network Database.
This is a developing story. More to track.