Nepal Army locates Tara Air plane air crash site; rescuers reach spot: Spokesperson

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Kathmandu: Two rescuers reached the wreckage site of the Tara Airlines plane in the country’s mountainous Mustang district on Monday, Nepal Army Spokesperson Brigadier General Narayan Silwal said but did not give any information on the fate of the 22 people on board, including four Indians.

The turboprop Twin Otter 9N-AET plane had four Indian nationals, two Germans and 13 Nepali passengers besides a three-member Nepali crew.

The search and rescue troops have physically located the plane crash site. Details will be followed, Brig. Gen. Silwal said on Twitter.

Crash site: Sanosware, Thasang-2, Mustang, he tweeted along with a picture of what appears to be the wreckage of the aircraft.

Lt Mangal Shrestha, a police inspector and a guide have already reached the site, he said.

“Other rescue team members from different agencies are trying to reach the sites using small helicopters. Every possible means to reach the site is being considered,” Brig Gen. Silwal said.

The fate of 22 people, including the four members of an Indian family, on board the Nepalese airlines plane remained unclear as bad weather made it difficult to locate the aircraft that went missing on Sunday morning in the mountainous region of the Himalayan nation minutes after taking off from the tourist city of Pokhara.

The airline issued the list of passengers which identified four Indians as Ashok Kumar Tripathy, his wife Vaibhavi Bandekar (Tripathy) and their children Dhanush and Ritika. The family was based in Thane city near Mumbai.

The crash site has been located but the aircraft is totally damaged and parts are scattered here and there, according to Ratopati.com, a popular news portal.

The dead bodies are also scattered and not in a condition to be identified, Ratopati.com quoted a local resident named Indra Singh Sherchan as saying.

The crashed aircraft’s wreckage was found at Sanosare below the Manapath Mountain, reported Janamanch.com, an online news portal from Pokhara.

The aircraft crashed on a hill near the source of the Lyankhu river and it was scattered to various parts, the news portal said quoting local residents.

The aircraft crashed on the hill about 4,000 metres above sea level, Chief District Officer of Mustang Netra Prasad Sharma was quoted as saying.

The aircraft wreckage was found by a group of nine people who were in the mountain region to pick up Yarsha Gumba, a Himalayan herb meant for boosting energy, the news portal reported.

Patrol and search units from security forces and groups of locals continued the on-foot search amid adverse weather conditions in the Dhaulagiri region, The Himalayan Times newspaper reported.

The Canadian-built plane was flying from the city of Pokhara to Jomsom, a popular tourist town in central Nepal. Flights between the two cities are usually 20-25 minutes long.

Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest, has a record of air accidents.

In 2016, all 23 people aboard were killed when a plane of the same airline flying the same route crashed after takeoff.

In March 2018, a US-Bangla Air crash occurred at the Tribhuvan International Airport, killing 51 people on board.

A Sita Air flight crashed in September 2012 while making an emergency landing at the Tribhuvan International Airport, killing 19 people.

A plane flying from Pokhara to Jomsom crashed near Jomsom airport on May 14, 2012, killing 15 people.

Tara Air is the newest and biggest airline service provider in the Nepalese mountains, according to the airline website. It started its business in 2009 with the mission of helping develop rural Nepal.

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