Hours after a twin-engine aircraft operated by Nepal's Tara Air went missing in the mountainous Mustang district after taking off on Sunday, 29 May, the aircraft was found at Kowang of Mustang.
However, due to the "snowfall at the possible crash site, the search and rescue operation" has been called off for Sunday, Premnath Thakur, General Manager, Tribhuvan International Airport told ANI.
He added that "all the helicopters deployed for search and rescue have been called back to bases."
"Locals have informed us that the aircraft crashed at the mouth of the Lamche river under the landslide of Manapathi Himal. We are moving towards the site from the ground and air route," Narayan Silwal, a spokesperson from the Nepal Army had earlier said.
The aircraft had taken off at 9:55 am from Pokhara and was scheduled to land at Jomsom Airport at 10:15 am. However, it went missing 15 minutes after take off.
The aircraft, which has the call sign 9 NAET, was reportedly carrying 22 people, including the crew, from Pokhara to Jomsom in Nepal. There were four Indians (from Mumbai), two Germans and 13 Nepali passengers and a three-member Nepali crew.
Chief District Officer Netra Prasad Sharma had earlier said:
"The aircraft was seen over the sky of Jomsom in Mustang district and then had diverted to Mt Dhaulagiri after which it hasn't come into contact."Chief District Officer Netra Prasad Sharma to ANI.
The Indian Embassy in Nepal said it was in touch with the families of all Indian nationals on board.
‘Unusual Sound’ Heard in Titi
Earlier, the aircraft was suspected to have crashed in the Titi area of Lete in Nepal's Mustang District, according to ANI.
"Locals from Titi have called and informed us that they have heard an unusual sound as if there was some bang. We are deploying a helicopter to the area for the search operation."Ram Kumar Dani, DSP of District Police Office, Mustang to ANI
Nepal's Home Ministry had deployed two private helicopters from Mustang and Pokhara for the search of the missing aircraft.
Mustang, a dry and arid mountainous region, is the fifth largest district of Nepal and borders Tibet.
Due to insufficient training and maintenance, the aviation industry in Nepal has a poor track record in terms of safety. All its airlines have been banned by the European Union due to safety issues, reported AFP.
A few years ago, in 2016, Tara Air's Twin Otter turboprop aircraft which carried three crew members and 20 other travellers including a Chinese and Kuwaiti national had crashed at Myagdi, killing all 23 people.
(With inputs from ANI, India Today.)
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