Nepal crash kills 68, Australian on plane

At least 68 people have been killed after a domestic flight crashed in Pokhara in Nepal, with an Australian believed to be among those on board.

Hundreds of rescue workers are scouring the hillside where the Yeti Airlines flight, carrying 72 people from the capital Kathmandu, went down.

Local TV showed rescue workers scrambling around broken sections of the aircraft. Some of the ground near the crash site was scorched, with licks of flames visible.

Police said rescue workers were having difficulty reaching the site in a gorge between two hills near the tourist town's airport.

Those on the twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft included two infants and four crew members, airline spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula said.

Passengers included five Indians, four Russians and one Irish, two South Korean, one Australian, one French and one Argentine national.

The crash is Nepal's deadliest since 1992, the Aviation Safety Network database showed, when a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A300 crashed into a hillside upon approach to Kathmandu, killing all 167 people on board.

The plane made contact with the airport from Seti Gorge at 10.50am local time on Sunday, the aviation authority said in a statement. "Then it crashed."

"Half of the plane is on the hillside," said Arun Tamu, a local resident, who said he reached the site minutes after the plane went down. "The other half has fallen into the gorge of the Seti river."

Khum Bahadur Chhetri said he watched from the roof of his house as the flight approached.

"I saw the plane trembling, moving left and right, and then suddenly its nose dived and it went into the gorge," Chhetri said, adding that local residents took two passengers to a hospital.

The government has set up a panel to investigate the cause of the crash and it is expected to report within 45 days, the finance minister, Bishnu Paudel, told reporters.

At least 309 people have died since 2000 in plane or helicopter crashes in Nepal - home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, including Everest - where sudden weather changes can make for hazardous conditions.

The European Union has banned Nepali airlines from its airspace since 2013, citing safety concerns.

The weather was clear, said Jagannath Niroula, spokesman for Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority.

The ATR72 of European planemaker ATR is a widely used twin engine turboprop plane manufactured by a joint venture of Airbus and Italy's Leonardo.

"ATR specialists are fully engaged to support both the investigation and the customer," the company said on Twitter, adding that its first thoughts were for those affected, after having been informed of the accident.

Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 said on Twitter the Yeti Airlines aircraft was 15 years old and equipped with an old transponder with unreliable data.