Kathmandu, Feb 24: An aircraft with 20 passengers, among them two children and two foreigners, and three crew members on board which went missing in Nepal on Wednesday morning may have crashed, media reported.
The plane took off from Pokhara at 7.47 a.m., deputy director of Pokhara airport Yogendra Kumar told IANS.
Located 200 km west of capital Kathmandu, Pokhara is the second largest city of Nepal. It is a popular tourist destination and the kick-off point for climbing expeditions to the 8,091-metre Mt Annapurna.
The Tara Air Viking 9N-AHH Twin Otter was headed to Jomsom town in Mustang district. It lost contact with the Air Traffic Control minutes later and reportedly crashed in Myagdi district in western Nepal, the Himalayan Times reported.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mahendra Pokharel of Pokhara-based Gandaki zonal police office said that the suspected crash site lies in Rupse Chhahari in Myagdi district, the report said.
"The weather at Pokhara and Jomsom is fine today (Wednesday). So we have no clue about what went wrong," said Bhim Raj Rai, media officer at Tara Airlines.
But the areas adjoining the suspected crash site were covered in a cloud of dust on Tuesday following dry landslides in Mt Annapurna South base since Monday night.
Tara Air has released the list of passengers on board that includes one Chinese and one Kuwaiti national and two children.
The expected flying time for the plane from Pokhara to Jomsom town is approximately 20 minutes.
"See you again, good day" were the last words from the plane's senior captain Roshan Manandhar.
Mustang district is located beyond the Himalayas and any flight has to cross difficult geographical terrain and deep rocky cliffs.
Myagdi district police chief Bishowraj Khadka said locals informed the police about huge flames in Rupse area and that they were headed to it, the Kathmandu Post reported.
The plane could have crashed in Rupse in Myagdi district in northern Nepal, the report added.
A police team has been sent to the border of Myagdi and Mustang districts after locals reported a fire in the area. Three helicopters also have been sent for rescue, said Hari Mainali, chief district officer of Kaski district.
Myagdi district is located between Kaski and Mustang districts.
However, there is no official confirmation so far about the crash but rescue teams have yet to reach the possible crash site, said Narendra Singh, DIG of Nepal Police.
The aircraft was added to the Tara Air fleet last September.