Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft carrying 68 passengers and 4 crew members crashes in Pokhara, Nepal  (ANSA)

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Jan 17 2023

Pope Francis sends a telegram of condolences and offers his prayers for the 70 people killed when a Yeti Airlines plane crashed in Nepal’s tourist town of Pokhara.

Pope Francis has expressed his condolences for the deaths of at least 70 people who were killed on Sunday in a plane crash in the South Asian nation of Nepal.

In a telegram signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and sent Monday to the President of Nepal, Bidya Devi Bhandari, the Pope joined in mourning those killed.

On Sunday morning, Yeti Airlines ATR72 aircraft from Kathmandu crashed as it approached the new airport serving the tourist town of Pokhara in northern Nepal.

This marks the Himalayan nation’s deadliest plane accident in three decades.

According to a Yeti Airlines spokesperson, there were four crew members aboard, and several foreign nationals among the passengers.

The foreigners included five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France. 

Pope’s closeness

In his telegram, Pope Francis reassured the people of Nepal of his prayers for those affected and involved in recovery efforts, and commended the souls of the deceased to the mercy of Almighty God.

The Pope concluded by invoking the divine blessings of healing and peace upon those who mourn.

Ongoing search

According to Reuters, a witness who recorded footage of the plane’s descent said it looked like a normal landing until the plane suddenly veered to the left.

Rescuers are still searching the debris, which is scattered down a 300-meter gorge, for the three missing people who are believed to be dead. 

On Monday, search teams retrieved the flight data and cockpit voice recorders of the passenger plane. 

Nepal is home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains including Mount Everest.

The city of Pokhara is popular with tourists as the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit hiking trail. – Vatican News