Missing Nepal Plane With 22 Onboard Found with 16 Bodies

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A small plane operated by a private airline in the South Asian country Nepal went missing Sunday Morning when it lost contact with the airport tower shortly after take-off. The aircraft had been on a 15-minute schedule flight from the tourist town of Pokhara to the mountain town of Jomsom. This morning on Monday, search and rescue teams managed to find and recover the bodies of 16 people that crashed with a total of 22 people on board, according to authorities in Nepal.

The Tara Air 9N-AET plane is said to have lost contact at 9:55am on Sunday the 29th of May 2022, according to the Tara Air officials. Following on from this, a search was conducted immediately to find the missing plane. According to the Kathmandu Post, an air traffic controller at Jomsom Airport then said they had an unconfirmed report about a loud noise in nearby Ghasa.

A helicopter was dispatched to the area where the last contact had been made with the plane, which was in Lete Pass, however, officials later said that cloudy weather was preventing search helicopters from flying into the area of the flight’s last known location.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal said in a statement yesterday, “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.”

According to Sky News, the aircraft had been carrying 13 Nepalis, four Indians, two Germans and three crew members. Seven of the passengers were women.

Upon continued searching, this morning on Monday the 30th of May, the crash site for the plane was finally found, with unfortunately 16 bodies out of the 22 passengers that were onboard. The search continues to find the rest. Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority said on Twitter the bodies have been collected and are yet to be identified. 

Prem Nath Thakur, the general manager of Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, told CNN earlier on Monday that poor weather conditions were still a concern but efforts to locate the remaining passengers would continue as long as possible. He said, “Search and rescue teams are at the site going through the wreckage. After all the passengers have been found, their bodies will be sent to Kathmandu.”

The site where the wreckage was found is at an altitude of about 14,500 feet, an airport spokesperson said. Investigators are also searching a gorge between two mountains, the spokesperson added. The plane had been flying from the city of Pokhara to popular tourist town Jomsom in central Nepal on Sunday, when it lost contact with air control about 12 minutes into the journey. Authorities believe the incident was caused by poor weather.

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