At least 68 people died this Sunday when a plane crashed while trying to land in the Nepali city of Pokhara, some 200 kilometers from the capital, Kathmandu, from where it had taken off.
72 people were traveling in the device, including the four crew members.
This is the worst plane crash in the Himalayan country in three decades.
"The plane has been broken into pieces," explained Krishna Bhandari, a military spokesman, shortly after the accident.
It was an ATR72 aircraft with two propeller engines from the Franco-Italian manufacturer ATR, which operated the airline Yeti Airlines.
The passenger list included three babies and three other children, according to a statement from the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority;
among the travelers were five from India, four Russians, two South Koreans, one Irish, one Australian, one French and one Argentine.
According to the FlightRadar24 flight tracking website, the damaged device was 15 years old.
A man climbed on the remains of the stairs of the plane that crashed in Pokhara, this Sunday.
Local television images showed a large column of smoke rising from the crash site, where rescue teams and many residents of the area rushed.
Hundreds of rescuers searched the hillside where the plane crashed in search of survivors.
After hours of work, in which dozens of bodies were recovered, the emergency services withdrew at dusk.
Work at the accident site will resume on Monday.
The weather at the time of the crash was clear, said Jagannath Niroula, a spokesman for the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority.
A Pokhara airport spokesman said the aircraft fell while approaching the runways in a "normal descent".
The aircraft made contact with the airport from the Seti Gorge at 10:50 a.m. (local time), the aviation authority specified in a statement: "Then it crashed."
The plane caught fire after crashing, police officer Ajay KC said, noting that rescue teams had difficulty reaching the scene, in a gorge between two hills near the resort town's airport.
The Government has opened an investigation to clarify the causes of the disaster and expects to have a report in 45 days, said Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel.
"Half of the plane is on the hillside," according to Arun Tamu, a local resident who told Reuters he arrived at the scene minutes after the plane went down.
“The other half has fallen into the Seti River Gorge,” he added.
Another resident, Khum Bahadur Chhetri, said he saw the flight approaching from the roof of his house: "I saw the plane shaking, moving left and right, and suddenly it plunged down the gorge."
Local residents next to the wreckage of the crashed plane in Pokhara, this Sunday.
Yunish Gurung (AP)
Pokhara airport serves as a connection for travelers heading to the town of Jomsom, located in the heart of the Himalayas, a popular destination among tourists visiting the Annapurna peak (8,091 meters) or the Mustang region, as well as Hindu pilgrims .
Sunday's accident is the deadliest in Nepal since 1992, according to the Aviation Safety database, when a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A300 crashed into a hillside on approach to Kathmandu, killing all 167 people on the way. board.
In March 2018, a US-Bangla Bangladeshi airline plane from Dhaka crashed during landing maneuver at Kathmandu International Airport with 67 passengers and four crew members on board, killing fifty people.
At least 350 people have died since 2000 in plane or helicopter crashes in Nepal, home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, including Everest, and where the weather can change suddenly and create dangerous conditions.
Nepal has been the target of repeated international sanctions for the lack of controls.
In fact, Nepali airlines have been banned from entering the EU since 2013.
Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal called a meeting of his emergency cabinet after the accident, according to a government statement.
Remains of the fuselage of the wrecked plane, this Sunday.