Nepalese authorities on Tuesday started handing over to family members the bodies of those killed after Yeti Airlines' aircraft with 72 people, including five Indians, crashed in a river gorge in the resort city of Pokhara, as the death toll rose to 70.
Two more persons are still missing and the search operation is continuing, according to the Nepal Army sources. As one more body was recovered from the accident site at Seti River gorge in Pokhara valley, on Monday night, the total number of confirmed dead has climbed to 70, the sources said.
The Yeti Airlines aircraft took off from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport at 10:33 am on Sunday and crashed on the bank of the Seti River between the old airport and the new airport in Pokhara, minutes before landing.
Fifty-three Nepalese passengers and 15 foreign nationals, including 5 Indians, and four crew members were on board the Yeti Airlines aircraft when it crashed.
The five Indians, all reportedly from Uttar Pradesh, have been identified as Abhisekh Kushwaha, 25, Bishal Sharma, 22, Anil Kumar Rajbhar, 27, Sonu Jaiswal, 35, and Sanjaya Jaiswal.
Out of 70 dead bodies, 22 are being handed over to the family members after conducting post mortem on them, according to Yeti Airlines spokesperson Sudarshan Bartaula.
Out of 48 remaining dead bodies, including those belonging to crew members and foreign nationals, 25 have already been brought to Kathmandu on a Nepal Army helicopter and sent to the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, according to the Nepal Army sources.
And another 23 will be Airlifted soon.
They will be handed over to either family members or the concerned diplomatic missions in case of foreign nationals.
The family members of four men from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh who were killed in a plane crash in Nepal have reached Kathmandu to receive the bodies.
Both the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder have been recovered as search and rescue teams rappelled down a 300-metre gorge to continue their efforts.
The Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) records radio transmissions and other sounds in the cockpit, such as conversations between the pilots, and engine noises. The flight data recorder (FDR) records more than 80 different types of information such as speed, altitude and direction, as well as pilot actions and performance of important systems.
The boxes were handed over to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). The boxes could offer vital clues about Sunday's crash.
Experts from France's accident investigation agency are due to arrive in Nepal on Tuesday to help authorities to probe the accident, Radio France Internationale reported.
The crashed twin-propeller plane was made by France-based aircraft manufacturer ATR.
Sunday's accident was the third-deadliest crash in the Himalayan nation's history, according to data from the Aviation Safety Network.
The only incidents in which more people were killed took place in July and September 1992. Those crashes involved aircraft of Thai Airways and Pakistan International Airlines and left 113 and 167 people dead, respectively.