NEW DELHI – At least 68 people were killed when a Nepalese plane carrying 68 passengers and four crew members crashed near the city of Pokhara in central Nepal, Sunday morning, officials said.
Krishna Bhandari, a Nepal Army spokesman, told Anadolu that 68 bodies have so far been recovered from the crash site.
He said rescue operations continue to find four others who remain missing.
Fanindra Mani Pokharel, a senior official at Nepal's Ministry of Home Affairs, told Anadolu that a passenger plane operated by Nepal-based Yeti Airlines crashed close to Pokhara, a popular tourist destination and the administrative headquarters for the Kaski district, some 200 kilometers (120 miles) west of the capital Kathmandu.
Social media images and videos show plumes of smoke rising from the crash site.
Officials of the civil aviation authority said the passenger plane carried both Nepalese and foreign nationals.
Police spokesman Tek Prasad Rai said police and army personnel rushed to the crash site.
Last year, 22 people died when a private plane operated by Nepal's Tara Air crashed shortly after taking off from Pokhara.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal expressed sadness over the "tragic accident,” urging effective search and rescue efforts.
The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu on Sunday said at least five Indians were onboard the flight, citing information from Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority.
Condolences pour in
Neighboring countries have expressed condolences to Nepal over the incident.
Indian Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia lamented the deadly crash, saying on Twitter: "My thoughts & prayers are with the families of the bereaved.”
Lotay Tshering, prime minister of Bhutan, said he was "extremely disturbed” to hear of the crash, adding: "Sending my prayers and condolences to the government and people of Nepal, especially the families of the victims. Wishing everyone strength to see through this tragedy.”
Pakistan also offered voiced sorrow, with a Foreign Ministry statement saying: "The Government and people of Pakistan offer their deepest condolences over the loss of precious lives in the air crash in Pokhara, Nepal. We are saddened at this tragic accident and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims."
"We stand with the people of Nepal in their hour of grief," it added.
Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid extended "heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims for their loss."
Türkiye on Sunday expressed "deep sorrow" over the deadly plane crash.
Extending condolences to "the relatives of those who lost their lives in this tragic accident as well as to the friendly people and Government of Nepal," a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement also wished a speedy recovery to the injured. (Anadolu)