Thu, 09 Feb 2023

Nepal Finds Black Boxes from Plane Crash Site

Voice of America
17 Jan 2023, 06:06 GMT+10

Search teams in Nepal Monday found the black box and cockpit voice recorder of a passenger jet that crashed, killing at least 70 people in the country's deadliest plane accident in 30 years.

Investigators say they hope the data on the recorders will help them to determine why the Yeti Airlines twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft went down. The plane crashed Sunday, on a clear day just minutes before it was supposed to land in the tourist town of Pokhara.

The pilot did not report "anything untoward," a Kathmandu Airport spokesman told the BBC.

Nepalese rescue workers and civilians gather around the wreckage of a passenger plane that crashed in Pokhara, Nepal, Jan. 15, 2023. Nepalese rescue workers and civilians gather around the wreckage of a passenger plane that crashed in Pokhara, Nepal, Jan. 15, 2023.

68 Dead, 4 Missing After Plane Crashes in Nepal Resort Town

Rescue teams Monday searched a river gorge where the plane, carrying 72 people, went down. The Reuters news agency reports that two more bodies were recovered on Monday, bringing the death toll to 70. The two remaining missing passengers are also believed to be dead.

Rescue crews will continue their search on Tuesday.

One local resident, who was at the crash site, told The Associated Press, "The flames were so hot that we couldn't go near the wreckage. I heard a man crying for help, but because of the flames and smoke we couldn't help him."

Nepal's government has set up a panel to investigate the disaster.

The country observed a day of mourning on Monday. In the capital, Kathmandu, about 100 people lit candles and called on the government to better ensure safety standards on airlines.

The plane was about to complete a 30-minute flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara when it crashed. Sixty-eight passengers and four crew members were on board, according to Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority. The passengers included 15 foreign nationals - five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one each from Argentina, Australia, Ireland and France.

Pokhara sits on the edge of the scenic Annapurna mountain range and attracts tourists who hike its popular trails. Nepal is home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, including Mount Everest.

Sunday's crash is the deadliest in Nepal since 1992, when all 167 people aboard a Pakistan International Airlines flight died when the plane crashed trying to land in Kathmandu.

The European Union has banned airlines from Nepal from flying into member countries since 2013, citing safety concerns.

Some information in this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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