Photograph courtesy: Tara Airlines
The Tara Viking 9H-AHH Twin Otter aircraft was on its way to Jomsom, a hill station. All contact of the aircraft with the Air Traffic Control was lost shortly after it took off from Pokhara airport this morning. Pokhara is the second largest city in Nepal and is one of the favorite tourist destinations in the Himalayan nation. It is also the base destination for the Mt Annapurna summit. The aircraft was added to the Tara Airline’s fleet only in September last year. These aircrafts are specially designed in order to connect with airports in remote areas of the country. Also Read - With 35 Deaths, 1400 Confirmed Cases in India, Delhi's Nizamuddin Emerges as New Epicentre of Coronavirus
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The earlier statement made by Pokhara Airport officials mentioned 21 people on board, 18 passengers two out of them were foreigners along with three crew members. By the time the aircraft reached the end of the district, a missing report was filed and two helicopters were sent on search operations. While one helicopter belonged to Dynasty Air, the other belonged to the Nepalese Army. Also Read - Coronavirus Pandemic: No Pay Cut For South African Cricketers For 2020-21 Season Despite Growing Concerns
Just about four hours into the search, the army found the wing and the tail of the aircraft, fully wrecked in the middle of the Soli Ghoptebhir forest in Myagdi district. Search for the fuselage is still on.
The Aviation Minister Aananda Prasad Pokhrel confirmed that the plane was found crashed at the jungle in Kekarko Butta region of the district. Parts of the aircraft are still said to be burning and the number of people on board was revised to 23. Among the 20 passengers, two were infants, a Chinese and a Kuwaiti nationale along with three crew members.
An Army Spokespersom Braigadier General Tara Bahadur Karki confirmed that the crash has no survivors. Police constable Phool Kumar Thapa Magar stated that the debris of the plane were scattered at a distance of over 200 m, some locals said that the weather was extremely unpredictable and the neighborhood was expecting rainfall as well. Though the weather conditions were favorable for a flight, both at Pokhara and Jomsom, areas adjoining the crash site were surrounded by dust clouds the previous day, due to landslides in the Annapurna’s southern base. However, the pilot, Roshan Manandhar had confirmed normal weather, a few minutes into the flight during his last conversation with the Air Traffic Control.