Flight with 22 on board goes missing in Nepal

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Flight with 22 on board goes missing in Nepal

A small passenger plane flying on a popular tourist route in Nepal went missing on Sunday with 22 people on board, according to flight operator Tara Air, reported DW, quoting news agencies AFP, AP and Reuters.

Cloudy weather was preventing search helicopters from flying into the area of the flight's last known location, officials said.

Search underway

"One search helicopter returned to Jomsom due to bad weather without locating the plane. Helicopters are ready to take off for search from Kathmandu, Pokhara and Jomsom once weather conditions improve. Army and police search teams have left towards the site," the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal said in a statement.

The plane lost contact with the airport tower shortly after takeoff.

Police official Prem Kumar Dani said a land rescue-and-search team had been sent to the area near Mount Dhaulagiri, the world's seventh-highest peak at 8,167 meters (26,795 feet).

The Tara Air plane, which was on a 15-minute scheduled flight, had 19 passengers and three crew members on board. The airline mainly flies Canadian-built, turboprop Twin Otter planes.

The airline said there were four Indians, two Germans and 16 Nepalis on board, including three crew members.

Difficult terrain for flights

The mountainous region around Jomsom has been receiving rain in the past few days, though flights had been operating as per schedule.

The trip is a popular route with foreign hikers who trek on the mountain trails, and also with Indian and Nepalese pilgrims who visit the Muktinath temple.

The country, which lies in the Himalayan mountain range and has 14 of the highest peaks, has frequent air incidents. The weather changes quickly, and the geography makes it difficult to reach airstrips.

In early 2018, a US-Bangla Airlines flight from Dhaka to Kathmandu crashed on landing and caught fire, killing 51 people.

A Pakistan International Airlines plane had plowed into a hill in 1992, while trying to land in Kathmandu. All 167 on board were killed.

Flight with 22 on board goes missing in Nepal

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