Plane Crashes Near Pohkara: All 72 Passengers Feared Dead

In Nepal’s worst plane accident in three decades, a twin-engine plane operated by Yeti Airlines, carrying 68 passengers and four crew members from Kathmandu, crashed shortly before Pohkara.

Flight 9N ANC ATR72 crashed into a gorge and was soon engulfed by fire. Over 100 police, military, and volunteer rescuers flocked to the site immediately, but there was little they could do. Check footage from the wreckage on The Guardian. Sixty-eight bodies have been recovered so far. It is now well after dark in Nepal, so the search will continue tomorrow morning for the four still missing.

“Locals who saw the aircraft before the crash assume the pilot diverted the aircraft to the gorge of the Seti River in a bid to save the human settlement, after knowing it was going to crash,” Online Khabar reported.

Quoting the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Online Khabar claimed that there were several foreigners among the casualties: five Indians, four Russians, two Koreans, and one each from Ireland, Argentina, and France. Six children were also on board.

Tribute to the victims posted today by Nepal’s Mountaineering Association.

A tourist hub

Pohkara is one of the most popular adventure tourism destinations in Nepal. The scenic lakeside town is the starting point for trekkers and climbers headed for the Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Manaslu. While this is currently the off-season, some hikers take advantage of the winter months when the trails are quiet.

Winter tours are also ongoing. After climbing Manaslu, Alex Txikon returned to the area (luckily) two days ago with a trekking group. David Goettler and Herve Barmasse are currently in Dhaulagiri Base Camp, hoping to begin their alpine-style climb as soon as the winds diminish.

This is the third deadliest aviation accident ever in Nepal. The two others involved much bigger airplanes, according to CNN. Nearly 350 people have died since 2000 in plane or helicopter crashes in Nepal, Reuters estimates.

Poor safety standards prompted the European Union in 2013 to ban all Nepali airlines from its 27 member countries. Recently, international inspections raised hopes that the EU would cancel that measure, The Himalayan Times reported, but this new accident will definitely not help.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides is a college-graduated journalist specializing in high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.