Rescuers resumed searching on Monday in Nepal for four people still missing after the Himalayan nation’s deadliest plane crash in 30 years, officials said.
According to the latest report, the black box of the ill-fated plane has been found.
Rescuers had recovered 68 bodies out of the 72 people onboard the ATR 72 aircraft operated by Yeti Airlines that crashed in the tourist city of Pokhara minutes before landing on Sunday in clear weather.
The plane, on a scheduled flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, the gateway to the scenic Annapurna mountain range, was carrying 57 Nepalis, five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one person each from Argentina, Ireland, Australia and France.
Pokhara police official Ajay K.C. said the search-and-rescue operation, which stopped because of darkness on Sunday, had resumed.
“We will take out the five bodies from the gorge and search for the remaining four that are still missing,” he told Reuters.
The other 63 bodies had been sent to a hospital, he said.
Rescuers were also searching for the black boxes — a cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder — as they looked for survivors, said Jagannath Niroula, a spokesperson for Nepal’s civil aviation authority.
Nepal has declared a day of national mourning on Monday and set up a panel to investigate the disaster and suggest measures to avoid such incidents in future.
Authorities said bodies will be handed over to families after identification and examination.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed his grief at the loss of lives in the tragedy and offered condolences to the aggrieved families.
“I send my heartfelt condolences and most sincere sympathies to H.E. Pushpa Kamal Dahal Pranchanda on the tragic crash of a passenger aircraft. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families & the people of Nepal,” the PM said in a tweet.
Nearly 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 — where sudden weather changes can make for hazardous conditions.