A Yeti Airlines passenger plane carrying 72 people crashed on Sunday morning in Nepal, killing at least 68, officials said.
Flight NYT 691 had been traveling from Kathmandu, the capital, to Pokhara, a city in central Nepal, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said. Sixty-eight passengers and four crew members had boarded the plane in Kathmandu, Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement.
The aircraft, an ATR 72-500 twin-engine turboprop airliner, was 15 years old and registered as 9N-ANC with a serial number of 754, aviation officials and Flightradar24 said. The European Commission includes all of Nepal’s air carriers, including Yeti, on its “Air Safety List,” banning them from operating within the European Union because of safety concerns.
The Yeti crew last made contact with Pokhara Tower at 10:50 a.m., as they flew over the Seti River gorge, which is east of the city, aviation officials said in a statement. A collection of police and rescue agencies were deployed to the crash scene, with first responders and helicopters performing a search and rescue operation.
As the search operation continued into the early evening, the death toll rose to 68 people from an earlier estimate of at least 30, officials said. The aviation authority posted photos of the flight’s manifest, which included three children and three infants.
“This aircraft was equipped with an old transponder with unreliable data,” the flight tracker said. “We are downloading high resolution data and verifying the data quality.”
The airline said it had canceled all flights for Monday, Jan. 16, aside from emergency and rescue flights.
Sunday’s plane crash was the country’s deadliest since 1992, an official at the Rescue Coordination Center in Nepal said.
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