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Nepal finds wreckage of missing plane

Nepal’s army says it has found the crash site of a plane that went missing with 22 people on board during cloudy weather.

“Search and rescue troops have physically located the plane crash site,” army spokesperson Narayan Silwal said on Twitter on Monday, posting a picture of the wreckage with the plane’s tail number clearly visible and parts of the aircraft shown scattered on the edge of a mountain.

Four Indians, two Germans and 16 Nepalis were on board the plane, a De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter operated by privately owned Tara Air, according to the airline and government officials.

The aircraft was on a 20-minute flight before losing contact with the control tower.

It had taken off from the tourist town of Pokhara, 125 kilometres west of the capital, Kathmandu, on Sunday and was bound for Jomsom, about 80km northwest of Pokhara, a popular tourist and pilgrimage site.

Flight-tracking website Flightradar24 said the aircraft, with registration number 9N-AET, made its first flight in April 1979.

Deo Chandra Lal Karna, a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), said five helicopters were ready to help with the rescue process.

The plane, with its top-mounted wing and fixed landing gear, is prized for its durability and its ability to take off and land on short runways.

Production of the planes originally ended in the 1980s. Another Canadian company, Viking Air, brought the model back into production in 2010.

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 in mountainous areas that are hard to reach.

In early 2018, a US-Bangla Airlines flight from Dhaka to Kathmandu crashed on landing and caught fire, killing 51 of the 71 people on board.

with AP

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