French expert team begins probe into Yeti Airlines plane crash in Pokhara
The nine-member team is enquiring with the airlines' staff and concerned authorities in Pokhara to understand details of the ATR-72 aircraft crash
A team of experts from France, which is in Nepal to help the government investigate the crash of Yeti Airlines' aircraft with 72 people on board, on Wednesday began its probe and visited the accident site in the resort city of Pokhara, officials said.
The nine-member team is enquiring with the airlines' staff and concerned authorities in Pokhara to understand details of the ATR-72 aircraft crash, which has left 71 people dead, including five Indians, according to the Yeti Airlines official.
The aircraft that took off from Kathmandu at 10:30 am crashed into Seti river gorge on Sunday, killing all 4 crew members and 68 passengers. One person on board the aircraft is still missing.
The Nepal government has formed a five-member probe committee to investigate the crash. The probe panel headed by former aviation secretary Nagendra Ghimire has been asked to investigate the accident and submit its report within 45 days.
The ATR-72 is a twin-engine turboprop, short-haul regional airliner developed in France and Italy by aircraft manufacturer ATR, which is a joint venture between French aerospace company Aerospatiale and Italian aviation conglomerate Aeritalia.
Meanwhile, the Nepali Army team continued search operations in the Seti gorge to look for the remains of the aircraft, an Army personnel said.
As one more dead body was on Wednesday brought to Kathmandu from the air crash site, the medical team performed postmortem on 49 other corpses.
Twenty-two bodies of Nepali nationals have already been handed over to their relatives by the Pokhara Academy of Health Sciences, where the doctors completed the postmortem on Tuesday.
Many bodies are burnt or split in parts, thus making it challenging to identify.
The bodies went through DNA tests after postmortem before they were handed over to their family members, Yeti Airlines spokesperson Sudarshan Bartaula said.
The DNA identification formality has thus caused a delay in handing over the dead bodies to the family members, who have been complaining about the lengthy procedure.
According to Nepal's civil aviation body, 914 people have died in air crashes in the country since the first disaster was recorded in August 1955.
The Yeti Airlines tragedy in Pokhara on Sunday is the 104th crash in Nepali skies and the third biggest in terms of casualties.