Nepal Tara Air flight mishap: A look at some plane crashes in Himalayan country

  • Nepal's air industry, though experiencing a boom in recent years, has a poor safety record.
A file image of Nepal.(Alex Treadway/robertharding/picture alliance)
A file image of Nepal.(Alex Treadway/robertharding/picture alliance)
Published on May 29, 2022 03:59 PM IST
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Written by Shubhangi Gupta | Edited by Chandrashekar Srinivasan, New Delhi

A Nepal Tara Airlines plane flying from Pokhara to Jomson, which went missing earlier in the day, was found at Kowang in Mustang, reports said on Sunday. 22 people were on board, including four Indians and two Germans. A search has been launched but operations have been hampered by poor weather. Air traffic control lost contact with the plane 15 minutes after it took off from Pokhara. Airline spokesperson Sudarshan Bartaula told AFP, "We are trying to locate the possible area where the aircraft might be."

The Indian embassy in Nepal has said officials are in touch with the families of four people from Mumbai who were on board the aircraft. "Tara Air flight 9NAET that took off from Pokhara at 9.55 AM today with 22 people on board, including 4 Indians, has gone missing. Search and rescue operation is on. The embassy is in touch with their family."

Nepal's air industry, though experiencing a boom in recent years, has a poor safety record. The country also has some of the trickiest runways, with approaches flanked by snow-capped peaks that challenge even accomplished pilots. 

While the circumstances surrouding this mishap are unclear at this time, here is a look at plane crashes in Nepal in recent years:

1) A similar tragedy struck a Tara Airlines flight in March 2016 when a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Pokhara to Jomsom went missing eight minutes after take-off. The wreckage was found hours later near Dana village in the Myagdi district. There were no survivors.

2) In March 2018, a US-Bangla Airlines plane crashed near Kathmandu's notoriously difficult-to-approach international airport, killing 51 people. The flight from Bangladeshi capital Dhaka crash-landed and skidded into a football field where it burst into flames. Twenty passengers miraculously escaped the burning wreckage but sustained serious injuries.

3) In 1992, all 167 people on board a Pakistan International Airlines plane died when it crashed on approach to Kathmandu airport.

4) Just two months earlier a Thai Airways aircraft crashed near the same airport, killing 113 people.

5) In 2019, three people died when a plane veered off the runway and hit two helicopters while taking off from Lukla airport, which is the main gateway to the Everest region and is reputed to be one of the most difficult in the world for landing and take-off.

(With AFP inputs)

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