POKHARA, NEPA – A plane carrying 72 passengers crashed close to an airport in the heart of Nepal, killing dozens of people.
The planes engines reportedly caught fire before falling down.
The crashed aeroplane was on its way from Kathmandu to the popular tourist destination of Pokhara.
Social media videos showed an aeroplane passing closely above a populated area before abruptly banking.
Officials reported that at least 68 deaths have been officially confirmed. Unconfirmed sources said that some seriously injured survivors were transferred to hospitals.
A local resident Divya Dhakal told the BBC that she immediately made her way to the disaster site (05:15 GMT) when she saw the plane fall from the sky shortly after 11:00 a.m. local time.
The 15-year-old twin-engine ATR 72 stopped broadcasting location data at 05:05 GMT, and the last signal from the aircraft was received at 05:12, according to flight tracking website Flightradar24.
The effort at the crash site in the Seti gorge, approximately 1.5 kilometres from the airport, attracted hundreds of Nepalese soldiers.
According to officials, the search operation for plane carrying 72 passengers crashed close to an airport has been halted for the day.
The plane’s crash site was captured on video with burning debris and dense, billowing black smoke.
The jet “has split into pieces,” Reuters quoted an army spokesman saying. It added that “we anticipate to recover additional bodies.”
In order to expedite rescue efforts, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal convened an emergency meeting of his cabinet.