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All 22 on board missing Nepal plane, including 4 Indians, killed in crash

The bodies have been scattered over a 100-metre radius from the crash site at Sano Sware Bhir of Thasang in Mustang, north-west Nepal. Fourteen have been recovered till noon Monday. Some are beyond recognition. The crash site is at an elevation of 14,500 feet.

The Tara Air plane lost contact while flying from the tourist town of Pokhara, 200 km northwest of Capital Kathmandu, to nearby Jomsom in mountainous Mustang at 10 am on Sunday.

KATHMANDU, May 30: There are no survivors in Sunday's plane crash in Nepal. All 22 on board, including four Indians, are feared dead. Fourteen bodies were recovered till noon Monday. The search was resumed and the crash site accessed in the morning after being suspended in the night because of bad weather. The crash site in Mustang district in the north-west of Nepal is at an elevation of 14,500 feet, the army spokesperson said.

“Some of the bodies of the passengers are beyond recognition," an official said. The bodies have been scattered over a 100-metre radius from the crash site at Sano Sware Bhir of Thasang in Mustang.

The four Indians on board were Ashok Kumar Tripathy, his ex-wife Vaibhavi Bandekar (Tripathy) and their children Dhanush and Ritika. The Indian embassy emergency helpline number is :+977-9851107021.

The Nepalese Tara airline, carrying 22 passengers and crew, including four Indians, two Germans and a three-member Nepali crew, was flying from the tourist town of Pokhara to Jomsom in mountainous north-western Mustang district on Sunday morning. The crash site was located at Kowang village in Mastang by GPS tracking of the pilot's mobile by the army's rescue team as well as the ELT on Sunday evening but could not be reached. Villagers had first reported of the sound of crash. Bad weather was hampering search operations which were called off in the evening.

Two helicopters were deployed to look for the missing plane in Jomsom in mountainous Mustang in the morning, but bad weather hampered the search operation. Army teams were also despatched for search by air and ground. Visibility was very poor. Hardly anything could be seen, it is learnt.

The Civil Aviation Authority said the crash site was located through the emergency locator transmitter (ELT). The ELT is an emergency beacon used in aircraft to indicate the location when in distress. The GPS traction of the pilot's mobile also helped. Some villagers had earlier reported of a sound of crash.

The Canada-built Tara Air turboprop Twin Otter 9N-AET plane lost contact while flying from the tourist town of Pokhara, 200 km northwest of Capital Kathmandu, to Jomsom in mountainous Mustang district, 80 km to the northwest, a 15-minute flight. The plane took off at 9:55 am (local time).

Reports said the plane had reached Jomsom but was seen being diverted towards Mt. Dhaulagiri, to the west, and was believed to have crashed in Lete in Mustang as people were reported to have heard the crashing sound.

Tara Air claims to have the "widest domestic flights network" in Nepal. The airline has seven STOL aircraft - five Twin Otter (DHC 6/300) and two Dornier (DO 228) aircraft.

In 2016, a Twin Otter turboprop aircraft of Tara Air crashed in the western district of Myagdi, killing 23 passengers. However, Nepal, situated in the Himalayas, with its mountainous terrain, has had fewer air accidents.

Muktinath temple: In the valley of Mustang near Tibet border is situated Muktinath temple, a Vishnu temple sacred to both the Hindus and the Buddhists. It is called Hindus' 'mukti desam' or 'mukti kshetra' or 'place of salvation.' The temple can be reached via Pokhara. By road, the distance from Kathmandu to Pokhara is 200 km. From Pokhara it's 15 minutes by air to Jomsom (one of the world's most extreme airports). From Jomsom it takes two hours by road to reach Muktinath temple. At an altitude of 3,750 metres, the temple valley is surrounded by snow- clad mountains.

Jomsom: Jomsom, also in Mustang district, is famous for trekking and climbing.

Pokhara: A tourist destination. The Himalayan range and lakes can be seen from Pokhara Valley. Pokhara, in central Nepal, is also famous for boating, trekking, rafting, canoeing and bungee jumping. Annapurna can be seen on way from here. Pokhara is in the Kaski district of Gandaki province in central Nepal.

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