- Plane had 4 Indians, 2 Germans & 13 Nepali passengers besides a 3-member Nepali crew
- Canadian-built plane was flying from the city of Pokhara to Jomsom
- Plane crashed at the mouth of the Lamche river under the landslide of Manapathi Himal
Nepal: Rescuers on Monday pulled out 16 bodies from the wreckage of the Tara Airlines plane that crashed in Nepal's mountainous Mustang district with 22 people on board, including four Indians, according to a media report. Pieces of the wreckage of the passenger plane that crashed on Sunday morning were found at 14,500ft in Sano Sware Bhir of Thasang in Mustang district in northwestern Nepal, after nearly 20 hours since the plane went missing, the Nepal Army said on Monday.
“The search and rescue troops have physically located the plane crash site. Details will be followed,” Nepal Army Spokesperson Brigadier General Narayan Silwal said on Twitter. “Crash site: Sanosware, Thasang-2, Mustang,” he tweeted along with a picture of what appears to be the wreckage of the aircraft. Lt Mangal Shrestha, a police inspector and a guide have already reached the site, he said.
"Other rescue team members from different agencies are trying to reach the sites using small helicopters. Every possible means to reach the site is being considered," Brig Gen. Silwal said. Rescuers pulled out 14 bodies from the crash site and have been scouring the area for the remains of the others, according to rescuers, The Kathmandu Post newspaper reported. The airline issued the list of passengers which identified four Indians as Ashok Kumar Tripathy, his wife Vaibhavi Bandekar (Tripathy) and their children Dhanush and Ritika. The family was based in Thane city near Mumbai.
The Canadian-built plane was flying from the city of Pokhara to Jomsom, a popular tourist town in central Nepal. The condition of the plane belonging to Tara Air that took off at 10:15 am from Pokhara, nearly 200 kilometers east of Kathmandu, is unknown till now, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said in a statement.
According to the information given by the locals to the Nepal Army, the Tara Air plane crashed at the mouth of the Lamche river under the landslide of Manapathi Himal. Army spokesperson Narayan Silwal said that the Nepal Army was moving towards the site from the ground and air route. On Sunday morning, the twin-engine aircraft, flying from Pokhara to Jomsom at 9:55 am, had lost contact, after reaching the Lete area of Mustang, said the Airport authorities. As per the State TV, the missing aircraft was hosting 4 Indians among others. "The aircraft was seen over the sky of Jomsom in Mustang and then had diverted to Mt. Dhaulagiri after which it hadn't come into contact," Chief District Officer Netra Prasad Sharma confirmed ANI over the phone.
As per the police officials, the aircraft has been suspected to have crashed in the "Titi" area of Lete in Mustang District. "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 told ANI.
The Nepal Home Ministry has deployed two private helicopters from Mustang and Pokhara for the search for missing aircraft. Nepal Army chopper is also being prepared to be deployed for the search, said Phadindra Mani Pokharel, spokesperson at Home Ministry told ANI over the phone. Mustang (from the Tibetan Muntan meaning "fertile plain") the traditional region is largely dry and arid. The world's deepest gorge that goes down three miles vertically between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountains runs through this district.