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Forty people are confirmed dead after a plane with 68 on board crashed in Nepal

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At least 40 people have been confirmed dead after a 72-seat Nepalese passenger plane crashed into a valley while landing at a newly opened airport in the central resort of Pokhara on Sunday.

Tech Bahadur KS said: Rescue workers are scouring the crash site near the Seti River, about 1 mile from Pokhara International Airport, and were expecting to find more bodies.

It was not immediately clear what caused the plane to crash.

The Nepal Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement that the twin-engine ATR-72 operated by Nepal Airlines was carrying 68 passengers, including 15 foreigners, and four crew members.

Among the foreigners were five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who rushed to the airport after the crash, said the plane was on its way from the capital, Kathmandu, to Pokhara. He urged security personnel and the public to assist in the rescue effort.

Pictures and videos shared on Twitter showed plumes of smoke rising from the crash site as rescue workers, Nepalese soldiers and crowds of people gathered around the wreckage.

Pokhara, located 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Kathmandu, is the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, a popular hiking trail in the Himalayas. Pokhara International Airport started operations just two weeks ago.

Home to eight of the 14 highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, Nepal has a history of aviation accidents.

Last year, 22 people died when a plane crashed into a mountainside in Nepal. In 2018, an American Bengali passenger plane from Bangladesh crashed upon landing in Kathmandu, killing 49 of the 71 people on board.

In 1992, all 167 people on board a Pakistan International Airlines plane were killed when it crashed into a hill while trying to land in Kathmandu.

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