A 43-year-old plane operated by a private airline in mountainous Nepal went missing on Sunday (May 29) with 22 people on board, and officials said cloudy weather was preventing search helicopters from flying into the area of the flight’s last known location.
The Tara Air plane took off from the tourist town of Pokhara, some 125 km (80 miles) west of the capital, Kathmandu, for Jomsom, about 80 km to the northwest, the officials said.
“Among the 19 passengers there are two German nationals, four Indian citizens and 13 are Nepali citizens. This is all for now. Now a helicopter that was sent for search has also returned because of bad weather,” said Sudarshan Bartaula, the airline’s spokesman.
“The twin otter aircraft of the Tara Air had taken off from Pokhara for Jomsom with 19 passengers at 9:55 am this morning and there were three crew members. That aircraft went out of contact 15 minutes after taking off,” he added.
The country’s weather office said there had been thick cloud cover in the Pokhara-Jomson area since the morning.
Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest, has a record of air accidents. Its weather can change suddenly and airstrips are typically sited in difficult-to-reach mountainous areas.