(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Dozens of people have been killed after a plane with 72 people on board crashed near an airport in central Nepal.
The Yeti Airlines flight from Kathmandu to the tourist town of Pokhara crashed on landing before catching fire.
Videos posted on social media show an aircraft flying low over a populated area before spinning sharply.
Reports of the death toll are varied. One official put the fatalities as high as 62, another said at least 29 bodies had so far been recovered.
Several very critically injured people survived the disaster and were rushed to hospital, local reports said, although this is so far unconfirmed.
The flight set out with 68 passengers on board, including at least 15 foreign nationals, and four crew members.
Local resident Deeveta Kal told the BBC how she rushed to the crash site after seeing the aircraft plunge from the sky shortly after 11:00am local time (05:15 GMT).
“By the time I was there the crash site was already crowded. There was huge smoke coming from the flames of the plane. And then helicopters came over in no time,” she said.
“The pilot tried his best to not hit civilisation or any home,” Deevta Kal added. “There was a small space right beside the Seti river and the flight hit the ground in that small space.”
Hundreds of Nepalese soldiers are involved in the operation at the crash site in the gorge of the Seti River, just one and a half kilometres from the airport.