Nepal plane with 4 Indians onboard missing; reports of loud noise near Jomsom
Nepal Tara Air plane missing: A plane with 22 onboard has gone missing.
Four members of a family from Mumbai are among 22 people on board the Twin Otter 9N-AET plane belonging to Nepal's Tara Air that went missing Sunday in the mountainous region of the Himalayan nation minutes after taking off from the tourist city of Pokhara, officials said.
The small plane took off at 10:15 am from Pokhara, and lost contact with the control tower 15 minutes later, according to an airline spokesperson.
There are four Indian nationals, two Germans and 13 Nepali passengers besides a three-member Nepali crew, said Sudarshan Bartaula, a spokesperson at the airline.
In 2016, a Tara Air plane was travelling from Pokhara to Jomsom in Nepal when it lost contact. The small passenger plane - a Twin Otter aircraft - crashed shortly afterwards, killing all 23 people on board.
Here’s what we know so far:
1. The aircraft has been found at Kowang of Mustang. The status of the aircraft is yet to be ascertained, the Tribhuvan International Airport chief said, reported news agency ANI.
2. "Tara Air flight 9NAET that took off from Pokhara at 9.55 AM today with 22 people onboard, including 4 Indians, has gone missing. Search and rescue operation is on. The embassy is in touch with their family. Our emergency hotline number : 977-9851107021," the Indian embassy in Nepal tweeted.
3. Two helicopters have been deployed for the search operation. "The bad weather is likely to hamper the search operation. The visibility is so poor that nothing can be seen," Phanindra Mani Pokharel, a spokesman at the Ministry of Home Affairs said.
4. The three-member crew of the aircraft was led by captain Prabhakar Prasad Ghimire. Utsav Pokhrel is the co-pilot, while Kismi Thapa is the air hostess, My Republica newspaper reported, quoting Pokhara Airport Information Officer Dev Raj Adhikari.
5. The airline has issued the list of passengers which identified four Indians as Ashok Kumar Tripathi, Dhanush Tripathi, Ritika Tripathi, and Vaibhawi Tripathi.
7. The aircraft lost contact with the tower from the sky above Ghorepani on the Pokhara-Jomsom air route, aviation sources told news agency PTI.
8. According to an air traffic controller at Jomsom Airport, they have an unconfirmed report about a loud noise in Ghasa of Jomsom.
9. Nepal has been known for its poor air safety record. The European Union has banned all Nepali airlines from its airspace over safety concerns.
10. The last contact with the plane was made in Lete Pass region.
(With inputs from AP, AFP, PTI)