The Nepal Civil Aviation Authority on Monday said that officials have recovered 21 bodies from the crash site of a private plane that had gone missing soon after it took off from the Pokhara town a day earlier, ANI reported.
The plane, operated by Tara Air, had 22 persons on board, including four Indians. It was heading towards the mountain town of Jomsom. A search for the sole remaining passenger is underway.
A spokesperson for the civil aviation authority said that the weather at the crash site was very bad, reported AFP.
The toll due to the accident is yet to be ascertained, but some of the bodies found are beyond recognition, Nepal police inspector Raj Kumar Tamang said, according to ANI.
On Sunday evening, Nepalese authorities had launched a rescue operation after residents confirmed that the plane crashed. However, rescue officials had to put off their work due to bad weather.
On Monday morning, Nepal Army spokesperson Brigadier General Narayan Silwal said that the plane has been located in the Sanosware area of Mustang district’s Thasang division.
“Other rescue team members from different agencies are trying to reach the sites using small helicopters,” Silwal said. “Every possible means to reach the site is being considered.”
Tamang said that a police team has reached the spot.
“We suspected all the passengers on board the aircraft have lost their lives,” Phadindra Mani Pokhrel, spokesperson of the home ministry told ANI. “Our preliminary assessment shows that no one could have survived the plane crash, but an official statement is due”.
The 9N-AET Twin Otter plane had gone missing soon after it took off from the tourist town of Pokhara for the mountain town of Jomsom at 9.55 am local time on Sunday. The plane had lost contact with the airport tower at 10.07 am in the Ghodepani area, according to the country’s civil aviation authority. It was supposed to reach Jomsom at 10.15 am.
The four Indian passengers on the plane were identified as Ashok Kumar Tripathi, Dhanush Tripathi, Ritika Tripathi and Vaibhawi Tripathi. All were members of the same family.
Apart from the Indians, the plane was carrying 13 Nepalis, two Germans and three crew members.
Heavy rainfall has been reported in the region over the last couple of days but flights have been operating normally.