Rescuers near a plane that crashed in Nepal with 22 on board

Rescuers have circled a possible location of a passenger plane with 22 people on board that is feared crashed in overcast weather on Sunday in Nepal’s mountains, officials said.

The Tara Air plane was on a 20-minute scheduled flight from the resort town of Pokhara, 200 kilometers (125 miles) east of Kathmandu, to the mountain town of Jomsom. The Twin Otter turboprop aircraft lost contact with the airport tower just before landing in an area of ​​deep river canyons and mountain peaks.

An army helicopter and private helicopters were involved in the search, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal said in a statement.

Army troops and rescue teams are on their way to the possible site of the crash, which is believed to be near Lete, a village in Mustang district, army spokesman Narayan Silwal said on Twitter.

But inclement weather and nightfall meant the search was suspended until Monday morning, Silwal said.

“Poor visibility due to inclement weather is hampering efforts. The plane has not yet been located,” he said. Rescuers were trying to reach an area where locals allegedly saw a fire, although it’s still unclear what was burning, Silwal added. He said officials would not be able to verify the information until troops reached the site.

Tara Air spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula said rescuers had narrowed down a possible location of the plane.

According to aircraft tracking data from flightradar24.com, the 43-year-old plane took off from Pokhara at 9:55 a.m. (04:10 GMT) and sent its last signal at 10:07 a.m. (04:22 GMT). elevation of 12,825 feet (3,900 meters).

There were six foreign nationals on board the plane, including four Indians and two Germans, said a police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The plane was carrying 19 passengers and three crew members, Bartaula said.

It has been raining in the area for the last few days but flights have been operating normally. Planes on this route fly between mountains before landing in a valley.

It is a popular route with foreign trekkers trekking the mountain trails and also with Indian and Nepalese pilgrims visiting the revered Muktinath Temple.

Nepal has a patchy flight safety record.

In 2016, a Tara Air Twin Otter flying the same route crashed after takeoff, killing all 23 people on board. In 2012, an Agni Air plane also flying from Pokhara to Jomsom crashed, killing 15 people. Six people survived. In 2014, a Nepal Airlines plane crashed en route from Pokhara to Jumla, killing all 18 on board.

In 2018, a US-Bangla passenger plane from Bangladesh crashed on landing in Kathmandu, killing 49 of the 71 people on board.

The Twin Otter, a rugged aircraft originally built by Canadian aircraft manufacturer De Havilland, has operated in Nepal for about 50 years and has been involved in about 21 accidents, according to Aviationnepal.com.

The top-mounted wing, fixed landing gear aircraft is valued for its durability and ability to take off and land on short runways.

Production of the aircraft originally ended in the 1980s. Another Canadian company, Viking Air, brought the model back into production in 2010.

With postal wires

https://nypost.com/2022/05/29/rescuers-close-to-plane-that-crashed-in-nepal-with-22-aboard/ Rescuers near a plane that crashed in Nepal with 22 on board

JACLYN DIAZ

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