Emergency personnel on Monday resumed search operations in Pokhara, Nepal following a deadly plane crash.
Of the 72 people on board, at least 69 are said to have been killed when a Yeti Airlines flight crashed near the city on Sunday.
The crash is the worst air disaster in Nepal in 30 years, as many are raising concerns over the dangers of flying in the Himalayan country.
Local law enforcement said Monday that the chance of finding any survivors was ‘extremely low’ as workers used a crane to pull bodies from the gorge.
Inclement weather, low visibility and mountainous topography all contribute to Nepal’s reputation as notoriously dangerous for aviation, demanding very skilled piloting.
The Yeti Airlines flight Sunday had nearly finished its short journey from the capital Kathmandu to Pokhara when it lost contact with a control tower.
Pokhara, a lakeside city, is a popular tourist destination and gateway to the Himalayas. It serves as the starting point for the famous Annapurna Circuit trekking route.
A government committee is now investigating the cause of the crash, with assistance from French authorities. The Yeti Airlines plane was manufactured by aerospace company ATR, headquartered in France.
The plane’s black box, which records flight data, was recovered on Monday and would be handed to the civil aviation authority, officials said.
Home to the world’s highest mountains, including Everest, Nepal’s mountainous terrain can be difficult to navigate from the air, particularly during bad weather.
The need to use small aircraft to access the more remote and mountainous parts of the country also makes it more challenging, leaving very little margin for error while taking off or landing on the very short mountain runways.
Aircraft with 19 seats or fewer are more likely to have accidents due to these challenges, the Civil Aviation Authority report said.
Ahead of the Pokhara airport’s opening two weeks ago, some had expressed concern that the number of birds in the area would prove a cause for concern.
Bird strikes apart, as conditions at the time of the crash were good, with low wind, clear skies and temperatures well above freezing, experts are claiming that there could be some indication of ‘possible pilot error’ as the plane could have gone into an ‘aerodynamic stall.’
Yeti Airlines spokesman said the cause of the crash was under investigation as the recovered flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder would be analyzed.
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