Missing Nepal plane found in Mustang, fate of passengers unclear as bad weather halts rescue ops
Kathmandu, May 29: The Twin Otter 9N-AET plane, which went off the radar shortly after take-off - with 22 people onboard was found near at Kowang in Nepal's Mustang district. However, the fate of 22 people, including four members of an Indian family, on board a Nepalese airlines plane remained unclear as bad weather made it difficult to locate the aircraft that went missing on Sunday morning.
"Aircraft found at Kowang of Mustang. The status of the aircraft is yet to be ascertained," said Tribhuvan International Airport chief.
"According to the information given by the locals to the Nepal Army, the Tara Air plane crashed at the mouth of the Lamche river under the landslide of Manapathi Himal. Nepal Army is moving towards the site from the ground and air route," said Army spokesperson Narayan Silwal.
"Due to the snowfall at the possible air crash site, the search and rescue operation has been called off for today. All the helicopters deployed for search and rescue have been called back to bases," Premnath Thakur, General Manager, TIA told reporters.
A Nepal Army helicopter carrying 10 soldiers and two employees of the civil aviation authority landed on the bank of a river near the Narshang Monastery, the possible site of the crash, according to My Republica newspaper.
"A Nepal Army helicopter has landed on the river bank near Narshang Gumba," Prem Nath Thakur, general manager of the Tribhuvan International Airport was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Interestingly, the airplane was located after Nepal Telecom tracked down the cellphone of the airplane's Captain Prabhakar Ghimire through the Global Positioning System (GPS) network.
There are four Indian nationals, two Germans and 13 Nepali passengers besides a three member Nepali crew, said Sudarshan Bartaula, a spokesperson at the airlines.
The airline has issued the list of passengers, which identified four Indians as Ashok Kumar Tripathi, Dhanush Tripathi, Ritika Tripathi, and Vaibhawi Tripathi.
Tara Air is the newest and biggest airline service provider in the Nepalese mountains, according to the airline website.