Sydney man Myron Love has been named by Nepali authorities as one of those feared dead in the nation’s worst aviation disaster in three decades.
Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority on Monday released the names, passport numbers and nationalities of the 72 passengers and crew onboard the plane that crashed west of Kathmandu, shortly before it was due to land. So far, at least 68 people have been confirmed dead.
A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Dfat) spokesperson said authorities were aware an Australian man was onboard the Yeti Airlines flight.
“The Australian embassy is urgently seeking to confirm the welfare of the Australian. Owing to our privacy obligations we are unable to provide further comment.”
Love’s family is also yet to comment, however, friends in Sydney have begun mourning the passionate cyclist and surfer who lived in the city’s eastern suburbs after growing up in the inner west. He was reportedly a casual teacher.
“It is with extreme sadness to say we have lost one of the best humans I have ever known,” one friend, a Sydney artist, posted on social media.
“Myron was one of the loves of my life. A truly kind, fun, energetic man. We will forever love you my man.”
Krishna Prasad Bhandari, a Nepali army spokesperson earlier said 66 bodies were retrieved from the debris of the crash, but rescue efforts have been hampered by the treacherous terrain.
“The aircraft crashed into a gorge so it is difficult to bring the bodies. Search and rescue is ongoing. No survivors have been found yet,” he said.
Hundreds of rescuers from the army and the police were deployed to the scene. The rescue operation was halted on Sunday evening but authorities said there were still more bodies to be retrieved.
According to flight tracker data, the ATR 72-500 plane was 15 years old and “equipped with an old transponder with unreliable data”. In a statement ATR, a Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer, said they were supporting an investigation into the crash.
Footage shared on social media, which appeared to be shot shortly after the crash, showed the plane engulfed in flames on the ground as black smoke billowed into the sky from debris across the crash site.
It is Nepal’s worst aviation disaster since 1992, when 167 people were killed when a Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed on approach to Kathmandu.
With Hannah Ellis-Petersen and agencies