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A plane carrying 72 people has crash landed in the mountainous nation of Nepal, local news has reported.
The plane, which had 68 passengers, two of them young children, and four crew members on board, crashed near Pokhara International Airport, and rescue operations are now underway, according to a spokesperson from Yeti Airlines.
The crash has been dubbed the country's most horrific in five years.
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Chief District Officer Tek Bahadur KC initially reported that "around 30 bodies have been recovered" from the crash site, but this is now thought to be at least 40.
Mr Bahadur added that chances of finding survivors were "minimal".
Nepal army spokesman Krishna Bhandari said: “We expect the death toll to rise. The plane was torn to pieces."
Initial reports reveal that the plane crashed about 20 minutes after taking off from the capital's airport, and that the weather was clear at the time of the crash.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said the plane was flying from Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, to Pokhara in central Nepal.
Mr Dahal also issued a plea to security personnel and the public to help with rescue efforts and has called an emergency cabinet meeting.
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Witnesses took to Twitter to share photos and videos of the incident, which showed smoke billowing into the air from the crash site.
In one snippet, rescue workers and crowds of people can be seen rushing to the wreckage following the horror crash.
In another clip, people are seen going about their daily lives as the plane approaches, circling above.
The pilot can be seen turning the aircraft so the wing is pointing downwards as the aircraft comes dangerously close to the Earth's surface.
As the video ends, the person recording points their phone down and a massive explosion can be heard.
Nepal is one of the most treacherous places to fly in due to how mountainous its terrain is, containing eight of the world's 14 tallest mountains.
A similar incident in May last year saw a passenger plane carrying 22 people crash into a mountain just minutes after taking off.
The small aircraft operated by a private airline was carrying 19 passengers and three crew members and was flying over a mountain range in a remote region of the country when it vanished in cloudy weather.
Rescue workers at the time said they recovered the bodies of 20 of the 22 passengers.
"Efforts are underway to bring the bodies to Kathmandu,'' Teknath Sitaula, a spokesman for the capital's Tribhuvan International Airport said.
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- Plane Crash
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