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Plane crash finders in Nepal abseil and fly drones to find last two people

KATHMANDU, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Searchers used drones and abseiled down a 200-metre (656ft) deep gorge in Nepal’s second-largest city on Tuesday to search for two people missing after the crash Country’s deadliest plane in 30 years killed at least 70 people.

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

“There is thick fog here now. We are sending search and rescue personnel using ropes to the gorge where parts of the plane fell and were on fire,” Ajay KC told Reuters. a Pokhara police official who is part of the rescue efforts. .

Searchers found two more bodies on Monday before the search was called off due to dimming light.

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

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

Medical staff wearing personal protective equipment and masks helped transport bodies wrapped in stretchers to a vehicle before they were airlifted to Kathmandu, Reuters footage showed.

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

On Monday, searchers found the flight’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder both in good condition, a finding that should help investigators determine the cause of the crash.

Reuters Charts

Under international aviation rules, 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 engines for the aircraft were manufactured in Canada by Pratt & Whitney Canada (RTX.N).

French and Canadian air accident investigators have announced their intention to participate in the investigation.

Reporting by Gopal Sharma, writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Jamie Freed

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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