A plane carrying 22 people went missing in a mountainous region of Nepal, airline Tara Air and officials announced on Sunday, while inclement weather conditions complicate the search operation.
“Connection was lost on a domestic flight from Pokhara to Jomsom,” Sudarshan Bartaula, spokesperson for the Kathmandu-based company, said.
The twin-engined Twin Otter took off from the city of Pokhara (central-western Nepal) at 9:55 am before losing radio contact. There are three crew members and 19 passengers on board the plane, he said.
“Bad weather may slow down search operations”
“We’re trying to figure out the area where the plane could be,” Tara Air spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula told AFP. “Police and army rescue teams are on the way”He added.
Jomsom, known as a starting point for trekkers in the Himalayas, is a 20-minute flight from Pokhara, the country’s second largest city, 200 km west of the capital, Kathmandu.
Home Ministry spokesperson Phanindra Mani Pokharel said that two helicopters have been sent for the search operation. But visibility was poor, he said. “Bad weather can slow down search operations. Visibility is so low, you can’t see anything,” They said.
Some of the most remote and dangerous tracks in the world
Nepalese air transport has boomed in recent years, carrying tourists, hikers and climbers as well as goods by road to remote and inaccessible places.
Nepal, a poor country in the Himalayas, has a poor aviation safety record due to inadequate pilot training and maintenance.
The European Union has banned all Nepalese airlines from entering its airspace for security reasons.
The country also has some of the most inaccessible and dangerous tracks in the world, set amidst snow-capped peaks.
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