Plane in Nepal with 22 passengers disappeared in the mountains – did it crash?

A search helicopter had been dispatched but had to return due to “bad weather”.

In Nepal, a flight with 22 passengers on board has disappeared in the mountains on a 15-minute flight between Pokhara and Jomsom.

Officials have said that as soon as weather conditions improve, “helicopters will be ready to take off to search.”

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This is what we know so far about what happened.

What happened?

A private airline plane in Nepal has disappeared with 22 passengers on board.

The Tara Air plane took off from the city of Pokhara, which is 80 miles west of the capital Kathmandu, and was heading towards Jomsom, some 48 miles northwest, according to officials.

The flight should only take 15 minutes, and planes on this route fly back and forth between mountains before landing in a valley. It is a popular route with foreign kickers trekking the mountain trails and also with Indian and Nepalese pilgrims visiting the revered Muktinath Temple.

Family members and loved ones of passengers aboard the Twin Otter aircraft operated by Tara Air weep in front of the airport in Pokhara on May 29, 2022 (Photo by YUNISH GURUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

The plane is said to have carried four Indian passengers, two Germans and 16 Nepalese, including three crew members.

It lost contact with the control tower five minutes before landing at Jomsom, an airline representative said anonymously.

It had rained in the area for the past few days, but flights were operating normally.

What did the authorities say?

Police officer Ramesh Thapa said there was no information on the Twin Otter turboprop plane and a search was underway.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal said in a statement: “A search helicopter returned to Jomsom without finding the plane due to bad weather.

“Helicopters are ready to start searching from Kathmandu, Pokhara and Jomsom as soon as weather conditions improve. Army and police search teams have gone to the site.”

A view of the Dhaulagiri mountain range in the Himalayas from the village of Nagi some 200 km west of Kathmandu (Photo: PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP via Getty Images)

Police said a land rescue and search team was dispatched to the area near Mount Dhaulagiri, which has the world’s seventh highest peak at 26,795 feet.

Nepal has experienced a number of flight accidents due to its unpredictable and sudden weather changes and is home to eight of the 14 highest mountains in the world including Everest.

What is Nepal’s Air Accident History?

In recent years, Nepal has been the scene of a number of high-profile aviation accidents.

In 2012, two separate incidents occurred – the crash of Sita Air Flight 601, which killed 19 people, when a plane flying from Kathmandu to Tenzing-Hillary Airport experienced technical problems and was forced to make an emergency landing; and the Agni Air Dornier 228 crash that killed 15 of the 21 passengers on board, including both pilots.

Nepalese firefighters and volunteers look at the wreckage of a Sita plane after it crashed, killing all 19 people on board (Photo: BIKASH KARKI/AFP/GettyImages)

On February 24, 2016, Tara Air Flight 193 disappeared eight minutes after takeoff from Pokhara with 23 people on board. Hours later, the wreck was found near the village of Dana in Myagdi district – there were no survivors.

After one year and five minutes a Final report on the accident was published stating: “The probable cause of this accident was the fact that, despite adverse weather conditions, the crew’s repeated decision to enter cloud during flight [Visual Flight Rules] Escaping and their deviation from the normal lane due to loss of situational awareness, which is reinforced by spatial disorientation, leads to [Controlled Flight Into Terrain] Accident”.

On March 12, 2018, international passenger flight US Bangla Airlines Flight 211 from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Kathmandu, Nepal crashed while landing, killing 51 of the 71 people on board the plane.

The plane burst into flames after the crash, seriously injuring the 20 surviving passengers. Plane in Nepal with 22 passengers disappeared in the mountains – did it crash?


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