Search and rescue op for missing Nepal plane called off for day due to snowfall: Official
- Nepal plane incident: The chief of the Tribhuvan International Airport said the status of the aircraft was yet to be ascertained.
The small plane of a local airline with 22 people on board, including four Indians, that went missing earlier in the day was found at Kowang village in Mustang. The chief of the Tribhuvan International Airport said the status of the aircraft was yet to be ascertained.
However, due to snowfall at the possible air crash site, the search and rescue operation had to be called off for the day, a senior official of the airport said. “All the helicopters deployed for search and rescue have been called back to bases,” Premnath Thakur, general manager of the airport, said, according to ANI inputs.
The Twin Otter 9N-AET plane belonging to Nepal's Tara Air took off at 10.15am from Pokhara, and lost contact with the control tower 15 minutes later, according to an airline spokesperson.
According to Reuters, state-owned Nepal Television said villagers had seen an aircraft on fire at the source of the river at the foot of the Manapathi. Search teams had been sent to the site of the fire spotted by the locals.
A spokesperson of the Nepal Army, Narayan Silwal, said the aircraft crashed at the mouth of the Lamche river under the landslide of Manapathi Himal. This, he said was according to information shared by locals with the Nepal Army. “The Nepal Army is moving towards the site from the ground and air route,” Silwal was quoted as saying by ANI.
Also read | Indian embassy on missing plane
An earlier PTI report, citing My Republica newspaper, said an army helicopter of Nepal carrying 10 soldiers and two employees of the civil aviation authority had landed on the bank of a river near the Narshang Monastery, the possible site of the crash.
Police officers said the aircraft is suspected to have crashed in the "Titi" area of Lete in Mustang district. "Locals from Titi have called and informed us that they have heard an unusual sound as if there was some bang. We are deploying a helicopter to the area for the search operation," ANI quoted Ram Kumar Dani, a senior police officer, quoted as saying.
The airline issued a list of passengers, four of whom were identified as Indians, besides two Germans and 13 Nepali passengers and a three-member Nepali crew.
The aircraft was scheduled to land at Jomsom Airport in the western mountainous region at 10:15am. It lost contact with the tower from the sky above Ghorepani on the Pokhara-Jomsom air route, officials said.
(With inputs from agencies)
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