Plane crash seekers in Nepal abseil and fly drones in last-ditch effort to find two people

Plane crash seekers in Nepal abseil and fly drones in last-ditch effort to find two people
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KATHMANDU, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Rescuers used drones to rappel down a 200-meter (656-foot) gorge in Nepal’s second-largest city on Tuesday to search for two people missing after the country’s deadliest . plane crash in 30 years it killed at least 70 people.

Difficult terrain and inclement weather were hampering rescue efforts near the resort city of Pokhara, where the Yeti Airlines ATR 72 turboprop carrying 72 people crashed in clear weather on Sunday just before landing.

Rescue teams were also struggling to identify the bodies, Ajay KC, a police officer in Pokhara who is part of the rescue efforts, told Reuters.

“There is a thick fog here now. We are sending search and rescue personnel using ropes to the gorge where parts of the plane fell and it was on fire,” KC said.

Rescuers had collected what appeared to be human remains and sent them for DNA testing, he said, but search efforts would continue until all 72 passengers and crew were accounted for.

Search teams found 68 bodies on the day of the crash, while two more bodies were recovered on Monday before the search was called off.

“There were young children among the passengers. Some may have been burned to death, and they may not be found. We will continue to search for them,” KC said.

An airport official said 48 bodies were brought to the capital Kathmandu on Tuesday and sent to a hospital for autopsies, while 22 bodies were handed over to families in Pokhara.

Medical staff wearing personal protective equipment and masks helped carry the stretcher-wrapped bodies to a vehicle before they were taken to Kathmandu, Reuters footage showed.

Television channels showed crying relatives waiting for the bodies of their loved ones in front of a hospital in Pokhara.

Dr Tulsi Kandel, from Kathmandu University Hospital, said it could take up to a week to complete autopsies on the 48 bodies, half of them charred.

On Monday, the searchers found the The flight’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder are both in good condition, a discovery likely to help investigators determine what caused the crash.

Reuters charts

Under international aviation regulations, the accident investigation agencies of the countries where the aircraft and engines were designed and built are automatically part of the investigation.

ATR is based in France and the aircraft’s engines were manufactured in Canada by Pratt & Whitney Canada. (RTX.N).

French and Canadian plane crash investigators have said they plan to take part in the investigation.

Reporting by Gopal Sharma, written by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Edited by Jamie Freed and Jacqueline Wnog

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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