Children are among 23 people dead after a small aircraft crashed while flying over a mountain range in Nepal
KATHMANDU (Nepal) – A small plane crashed in Nepal on Wednesday in a mountainous region of northern Nepal due to bad weather, killing all 23 people on board, a police official said the country’s second air disaster in as many years.
Aananda Prasad Pokharel said the Twin Otter turboprop aircraft had been found in the western district of Myagdi and bodies could be seen scattered around it. The wreckage of the plane was found in a completely burnt state in Solighopte in Myagdi district,” said Pokharel, minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation.
‘The team there says that the bodies are scattered and it is not possible to identify anyone right now,’ he added.
Domestic airline Tara Air said rescue helicopters had been deployed to search for the Twin Otter aircraft, which lost contact with air traffic control eight minutes after it left the western town of Pokhara for Jomsom on Wednesday morning.
Pokhara, where the flight originated, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal. Jomsom is the gateway for one of the most popular Himalayan trekking routes.
Pilot Roshan Manandhar, during his final conversation with Pokhara Air Traffic Control, mentioned that the flight was normal, said Jasoda Subedi, Chief air traffic controller at Pokhara Airport.
The police chief at Jomsom, Harihari Yogi, said they had reports from local villagers of hearing a loud explosion near the small village of Rupshe and attempts were being made to reach it.
The airline said the plane was carrying three crew and 20 passengers, one a Chinese and one a Kuwaiti national, revising an earlier figure of 18 passengers. All the others were from Nepal and two of them were children.
Tara Air is a subsidiary of Yeti Airlines, a privately-owned domestic carrier founded in 1998 which services many remote destinations across Nepal.
Nepal’s last major aviation accident was last May when a US military helicopter assisting with earthquake relief crashed in bad weather, killing six Marines and seven other people.