Nepal plane with 22 on board, including 4 Indians, crashes
Multiple casualties are feared after a small passenger aircraft operated by a private airline reportedly crashed in Nepal on Sunday. The missing plane, Tara Air's 9 NAET, in Nepal has been found at Kowang of Mustang Valley, it said. However, the fate of the 22 passengers on board, including four Indians, is still unknown. Meanwhile, the rescue operation has been called off for today.
Why does this story matter?
Nepal, the home to the world's highest peaks, has a history of air mishaps owing to the changing weather and airstrips in challenging alpine sites. Notably, in 2016, a Tara Air Twin Otter turboprop plane crashed in the western area of Myagdi, killing 23 people. The ill-fated flight carried 20 passengers, including Chinese and Kuwaiti nationals, apart from three crew members.
What do we know so far?
Officials said the Tara Air aircraft was flying from Pokhara, about 200 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu, to Jomsom. Locals told the Nepal Army that the plane crashed at the mouth of the Lamche river under the landslide of Manapathi Himal. However, the status of the aircraft and passengers couldn't be ascertained as the rescue operation has been called off.
Officials had suspected plane crashed in Titi area
Earlier, officials had also speculated that the plane could have crashed in the Titi area of Lete in the mountainous Mustang district. Nepal's state television reported that the plane was carrying three Japanese nationals apart from four Indians. The remaining passengers were Nepali citizens. The region is famous for hosting the Muktinath Temple pilgrimage and is the fifth-largest district in Nepal.
Helicopters deployed for search operation
According to the Nepal Police, locals from Titi informed them that they have heard an unusual "bang" sound. Meanwhile, the government had deployed two private helicopters from Mustang and Pokhara in search of the missing aircraft. Later, Nepal Army also pressed its choppers for the search and rescue operation. Civil and disaster administration was also deployed to assist in the searches.
Tara Air has biggest air network in Nepal
Despite facing mishaps, Tara Air claims to have Nepal's "widest domestic flight network." "No other airlines in Nepal flies to the remote short takeoff and landing (STOL) sectors as extensively and frequently as we do," the airline's website says. The airline runs a fleet of seven STOL aircraft, comprising five Twin Otter (DHC 6/300) and two Dornier (DO 228) planes.Share this timeline