Passenger plane missing in Nepalese mountains

KKHANMANDU: A small plane with 21 people on board and flying in poor visibility over mountainous terrain in Nepal on Wednesday has gone missing and feared to have crashed, officials said.

Domestic airline Tara Air said rescue helicopters had been deployed to search for the Twin Otter aircraft, which lost contact with air traffic control eight minutes after it left the western town of Pokhara on Wednesday morning, media reports said.

“A plane that took off from Pokhara for Jomsom this morning is out of contact,” Tara Air spokesman Bhim Raj Rai said.

“There are 18 passengers, including two foreigners, and three crew members on board.”

The police chief at Jomsom, Harihari Yogi, said they had reports from local villagers of hearing a loud explosion near the small village of Rupshe and attempts were being made to reach it.

Jomson, in the Himalayas, is about 20 minutes’ flight from Pokhara, which lies 200km (125 miles) west of Kathmandu. It is popular for both foreign tourists visiting the Mount Annapurna and Mustang region for trekking, and for Hindu pilgrims visiting the Muktinath temple.

INP

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