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36 bodies recovered from crashed passenger plane in Nepal as search continues

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Kathmandu, Jan 15 (UNI) At least 36 dead bodies have been recovered after a local passenger plane with 72 people onboard crashed in the Pokhara region in central Nepal on Sunday, and a search and rescue operation is continuing, officials said.

Thirty-six bodies have been brought out from the wreckage and the fire in the plane has been put out, Tek Bahadur K.C, chief district officer of the Kaski district where Pokhara is located, told Xinhua from the crash site. Nepali soldiers and police officers are involved in the search and rescue effort.

The ill-fated ATR-72 plane from Yeti Airlines took off from Kathmandu for Pokhara at 10:30 local time and it lost contact at 10:50, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal said in a statement. According to the agency, 68 passengers and four crew members were aboard the flight, among them 15 foreigners, including five Indians, four Russians, two Koreans and one each from Australia, Ireland, Argentina and France.

Guru Datta Dhakal, Kaski’s assistant chief district officer, told Xinhua that the plane crashed near the Seti River gorge, and that three passengers were found alive and were sent to a local hospital for treatment, but he did not know of their latest conditions.

The Nepali cabinet declared Monday a national day to mourn the dead and decided to form a five-member committee to probe the cause of the accident, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Abdul Khan told Xinhua.

The cabinet has also directed airlines operators to regularly and mandatorily get their planes checked, the minister said.”At this difficult time, our thoughts are with Nepali people,” tweeted Chen Song, the Chinese ambassador to Nepal. “I would like to express my deep condolences to the victims, and sincere sympathies to the bereaved families.”

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