All 20 passengers and 3 crew members of Tara Air Viking 9N-AHH have been confirmed dead as wreckage of a Twin Otter that had gone missing since Wednesday morning has been spotted in western Nepal.
According to southasia.com.au‘s Kathmandu correspondent, Nepal Government officials of Myagdi, the district where small pieces of the ill-fated plane have been located by a Nepal Police search party, confirmed that the plane crashed in a far-flung village of the alpine district.
Remains of the victims are beyond recognition with pieces of aircraft strewn over the mountain flanks in Tikedhunga of Dana Village Development Committee, Krandan Chapagain said.
Minister for Tourism Anand Pokharel told local journalists the search party found the bodies in a charred condition.
The plane had gone missing after it took off from the scenic Nepalese city of Pokhara Wednesday morning.
The flight reportedly had two unidentified tourists (one each from China and Kuwait). It had taken off at 7:57 am local time and was due to arrive at Jomsom in 18 minutes. However, it went off the radar in less five minutes before landing.
According to Tara Air, the weather at both origin and destination airports was favourable and that the plane was cleared for take-off by the Pokhara Airport Authority.
Earlier, residents of the remote district had reported seeing flames in a place called ‘Rupse Chhahara’. The Chief District Officer had immediately dispatched a team of 13 policemen to the reported site of the flames. Flown by senior pilot Ramesh Manandhar and his co-pilot, the aircraft was bound for the high-altitude destination.
Senior Pilot Manandhar had apparently said ‘See you again, good day’ minutes before his plane went missing.
Two private and one Nepal Army helicopters had been deployed in search of the missing plane.