Flight cancellations, day of mourning: 7 things to know about Nepal plane crash that killed at least 68

The aircraft crashed into a gorge on the bank of the Seti river on Sunday in the worst air accident the country has seen in three decades

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Published: Sun 15 Jan 2023, 6:01 PM

Last updated: Sun 15 Jan 2023, 6:58 PM

A plane crash killed at least 68 people on Sunday, according to Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority, in the deadliest airplane accident the country has seen in three decades. Seventy two passengers were aboard the regional passenger plane, Yeti Airlines' 9N-ANC ATR-72, when it took off from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport at 10.33am.

The aircraft crashed into a gorge on the bank of the Seti river while landing at a newly opened airport in the resort town of Pokhara, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).


Here are 7 fast facts to know about the deadly crash:

1. Deadliest crash since 1992

Sunday's crash is the deadliest to hit the country since Nepal's worst-ever air accident in September 1992, when all 167 people on board a Pakistan International Airlines plane died as it crashed on approach to Kathmandu.


The country's air transport sector has been plagued by accidents due to poor maintenance, insufficient training and lax standards. The country also has some of the world's most remote and tricky runways, with approaches flanked by towering mountains that challenge even accomplished pilots.

2. Flight cancellations

In a statement released on Sunday, Yeti Airlines confirmed it has cancelled all regular flights for January 16 after the deadly crash. Emergency and rescue flights will still operate, the airline clarified.

3. Day of mourning

Nepal's government has declared a national holiday tomorrow to mourn the deaths of the people on board the plane. President Bidhya Devi Bhandari took to her Twitter handle on Sunday to offer condolences to the passengers and crew members who lost their lives, further expressing condolences to the families of the deceased.

4. Search called off due to darkness

The search for the bodies has been stopped for the day due to darkness, a spokesman for Nepal airport said on Sunday. The temporarily halted search operation is expected to resume on Monday to look for the remaining four people on board.

5. No survivors yet

Of the 68 passengers and four crew members that were on board the aircraft, no survivors have been found yet. It was carrying 15 foreign nationals, as well as four crew members, Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement. The foreigners included five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France.

Four bodies are yet to be retrieved, with rescue efforts hampered at first as the airplane crashed on treacherous terrain on the banks of the Seti River — making it difficult for villagers to go near the site of the accident, eyewitnesses recounted to PTI.

6. 5 member committee formed to investigate

Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as 'Prachanda', held an emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers following the crash. The Nepal government have formed a five-member commission of inquiry to probe the plane crash, and it is expected to report within 45 days, the country's finance minister, Bishnu Paudel, told reporters.

7. About the plane

The twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft, operated by Nepal’s Yeti Airlines, was flying from the capital, Kathmandu, to Pokhara, a 27-minute flight. The type of plane involved, the ATR 72, has been used by several airlines around the world for short regional flights.

Introduced in the late 1980s by a French and Italian partnership, the aircraft model has been involved in several deadly accidents over the years. In 2018, an ATR 72 operated by Iran’s Aseman Airlines crashed in a foggy, mountainous region, killing all 65 aboard.

According to plane tracking data from flightradar24.com, the aircraft was 15 years old and “equipped with an old transponder with unreliable data.” It was previously flown by India’s Kingfisher Airlines and Thailand’s Nok Air before Yeti took it over in 2019, according to records on Airfleets.net.

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