At least 32 killed in plane crash at Nepal vacation town

Rescuers search wreckage of 72-seat craft that came down in Pokhara; at least 10 foreigners on board; Foreign Ministry says unaware of any Israelis involved, but still checking

Rescuers gather at the site of a plane crash in the resort town of Pokhara, Nepal, January 15, 2023. (Yunish Gurung/AFP)
Rescuers gather at the site of a plane crash in the resort town of Pokhara, Nepal, January 15, 2023. (Yunish Gurung/AFP)

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — At least 32 people were killed on Sunday when a 72-seat passenger aircraft crashed in Pokhara, a resort town in central Nepal, an official said.

Rescuers were scouring the crash site near Pokhara International Airport and expected to find more bodies, said Tek Bahadur K. C., a senior administrative officer in the Kaski district. The plane was carrying 68 passengers and four crew members, the Kathmandu Post newspaper reported, quoting a spokesperson for Yeti Airlines.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said the plane was flying from the capital, Kathmandu, to Pokhara and he urged security personnel and the general public to help with the rescue efforts.

According to reports, at least ten foreigners were on board. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement that to the best of its knowledge there were no Israelis on the plane, but it was still investigating the matter.

Pokhara, located 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Kathmandu, is the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, a popular hiking trail in the Himalayas.

Images and videos shared on Twitter showed plumes of smoke billowing from the crash site as rescue workers and crowds of people gathered around the wreckage of the aircraft. Nepalese soldiers were also involved in the rescue efforts at the crash site.

It was not immediately clear what caused the plane to crash.

Nepal has had a spotty air safety record.

Last year, 22 people died when a plane crashed on a mountainside in Nepal. In 2018, a US-Bangla passenger plane from Bangladesh crashed on landing in Kathmandu, killing 49 of the 71 people aboard.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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