Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Nepal Private Aircraft With 22 passengers, Including 4 Indians, Missing

Nepal Private Aircraft With 22 passengers, Including 4 Indians, Missing

Airline officials said that a mini passenger plane operated by private airlines in Nepal went missing on Sunday with 22 people onboard, including four Indian passengers.

The Tara Air 9 NAET twin-engine plane has lost contact while flying from the tourist town of Pokhara, some around 200 km northwest of the capital, Kathmandu, to Jomsom, about 80 km to the northwest, they said. The aircraft, which was on a 15-minute flight, lost contact shortly after takeoff at 9:55 am local time.

Netra Prasad Sharma, Chief District Officer, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

"The plane was seen over the sky of Jomsom in Mustang district and then had diverted to Mt. Dhaulagiri after which it never came into contact,"

The plane was hosting 4 Indians and 3 Japanese nationals. According to the State Television, the remaining were Nepali citizens, and the aircraft had 22 passengers, including the crew.

According to police officials, the aircraft has been suspected of having crashed in the "Titi" region of Lete in the Mustang district, which is the fifth-largest district of Nepal and hosts the Muktinath Temple pilgrimage.

DSP of District Police Office, Ram Kumar Dani, Mustang, told ANI.

"Locals of Titi have called and informed us that they have heard an strange sound as if there was some bang in the region. We are deploying a helicopter to the region for the search operation,"

The government has deployed two private helicopters from Mustang and Pokhara to search for missing aircraft. Nepal Army chopper is also preparing to be deployed for the search, said Phadindra Mani Pokharel, spokesperson at Home Ministry, told ANI.

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Tara Air boasts the "widest domestic flights network" in Nepal.

The airline website says.

"No other airlines in nation flies to the remote short takeoff and landing (STOL) sectors as large and frequently as we do. We transport essential supplies to the bush, including relief materials, medicines, food grains and operating flights for rescue purposes,"

The airlines operate seven STOL aircraft, comprising five Twin Otter (DHC 6/300) and two Dornier (DO 228) aircraft.

Nepal, home to the world's highest mountains, does have a record of accidents on its vast domestic air network, with changeable weather and landing field in difficult mountain locations.

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