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Missing Plane Found Crashed In Nepal, All 22 On Board Killed

PTI 16 Dec 2010, 16:41:55 IST
Kathmandu, Dec 16: All 22 people, a majority of them pilgrims from Bhutan, on board a plane that went missing in Nepal were killed in the crash of the aircraft, wreckage of which was found in a mountainous area near here today.

The wreckage of the Canadian-built Twin Otter aircraft belonging to Tara Airlines was found in Srichaur village in Okhaldhunga district near Kathmandu this morning, a day after the plane lost contact with the control tower of the airport at Lamidanda in Khotang district of eastern Nepal minutes after it took off from there.

The plane, which was flying to Kathmandu from Lamidanda, was carrying 19 passengers, including an American and three crew members.

18 of them were Bhutanese nationals on a pilgrimage to Khotang district. The plane went missing yesterday at 3.40 pm local time, officials said.

The pilgrims and tourists were returning to Kathmandu after visiting Hindu and Buddhist temples at Haleshi Mahadev area in the district.

A police spokesman said all 22 bodies have been recovered from the crash site near Kathmandu and that army helicopters are now bringing the bodies to the capital.

Rescuers were searching for the plane's black box data recorder, which could provide details about the reason for the crash.

Two search helicopters were sent to locate the missing aircraft, according to airport officials here.

Last month a helicopter crashed near Mount Everest during a mission to rescue two stranded climbers, killing the pilot and an engineer.

Tara Airlines runs services to many far-flung destinations across Nepal. PTI