Plane Crashes in Popular Himalayan Vacation Town

At least 68 dead as aircraft crashes into gorge in Pokhara, Nepal, popular site for hikers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 15, 2023 5:25 AM CST
Plane Crash in Himalayan Vacation Town Kills Dozens
Locals at the scene of the plane crash in Pokhara, Nepal, Sunday, Jan.15, 2023.   (AP Photo/Yunish Gurung)

A regional passenger plane with 72 people on board crashed into a gorge while landing at a newly opened airport in the resort town of Pokhara in central Nepal on Sunday, killing at least 68, per the AP. Rescuers scoured the crash site near the Seti River, which is about a mile away from Pokhara International Airport, using ropes to pull out bodies from the wreckage, parts of which were hanging over the edge of the gorge. Pokhara, located 125 miles west of Kathmandu, is the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, a popular hiking trail in the Himalayas.

It was not immediately clear what caused the plane to crash. The BBC reports that video on social media showed the plane flying unusually low before spinning out of control. The twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft, operated by Nepal’s Yeti Airlines, was flying from the capital, Kathmandu, to Pokhara, a 27-minute flight. It was carrying 68 passengers including 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.

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, the Nepali aircraft was 15 years old and “equipped with an old transponder with unreliable data.”

(More Nepal stories.)

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