68 including 5 Indians killed in Pokhara air crash
Kathmandu: The rescue and search operation to find passengers trapped in a deep river gorge after today’s Yeti Airlines flight 691 crash in Pokhara, was halted today evening and will resume tomorrow, officials said. So far 68 bodies were recovered after the aircraft, a 15-year-old ATR-72-500.
The ill-fated plane, which was en route from the capital Kathmandu to popular tourist hub Pokhara, had 72 onboard including 15 foreign nationals and four crew members. It crashed around 10.50 am (local time) on the bank of the Seti River while landing at the newly built Pokhara International Airport.
Following is the number of the passengers and their nationalities: 53 Nepalese, 5 Indians, 4 Russian, 2 Korean, I Australian, 1 Argentinian, 1 Irish and 1 French.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal stated that after the information was received, 2 helicopters were deployed immediately towards the crash site for search and rescue operation. A ground rescue team consisting of the Nepal Army, Armed Police Force, Nepal Police, local municipality and Himalayan Rescue Association including the Rescue and Fire Fighting Service of Pokhara regional international airport moved immediately towards the crash site for the prompt rescue operation.
Meanwhile, the final moments of the flight were captured by a passenger on a cellphone which was recovered from the wreckage. It soon became viral on social media platforms. The visuals of the video could be disturbing for many.
Five Indians, four of them from Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur, were also killed in the crash. The five Indians were identified as Abhisekh Kushwaha, 25, Anil Kumar Rajbhar, 27, Bishal Sharma, 22, Sanjaya Jaiswal, and Sonu Jaiswal, 35. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said state officials were instructed to coordinate with the Ministry of External Affairs to bring back the mortal remains.
Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal called an emergency meeting of his cabinet to take stock of the rescue operation. He set up a panel to probe into the cause of the crash.
The flight tracking website Flightradar24 tweeted that “Flight #YT691 took off at 04.47 UTC. At 05:05 UTC [10.50 am in Nepal], the transponder stopped transmitting position data. The last signal from the transponder was received at 05:12 UTC at the altitude of 2875 feet AMSL [Above Mean Sea Level]. Pokhara Airport is located at about 2700-2800 feet AMSL.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed deep grief over the loss of lives due to an air crash in Nepal. In a tweet, he said; “Pained by the tragic air crash in Nepal in which precious lives have been lost, including Indian nationals. In this hour of grief, my thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families.”
– global bihari bureau