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Nepal plane crash: Nepal Army locates Tara Air flight wreckage, 14 bodies recovered so far, all 22 onboard feared dead

The Indian family who died in the plane crash was on a vacation in Nepal. They'd changed their flight from Pokhara, Nepal.

The Nepal Army on Monday has recovered 14 bodies from the wreckage of the Tara Air plane that crashed into a mountainside in Nepal with 22 people on board, including four Indians. The flight had gone missing soon after it took off from Pokhra at around 10.00 am on Sunday. Due to bad weather in the Mustang district, all the helicopters deployed for the search of the crashed aircraft were called off on Sunday, only to resume on Monday, May 30.

“Fourteen bodies have been recovered so far, search continues for the remaining. The weather is very bad but we were able to take a team to the crash site. No other flight has been possible,” Nepal Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson Deo Chandra Lal Karn told the media.

According to reports, the wreckage of the ill-fated Tara Air flight that went missing on Sunday was located in Sanosware, Thasang-2 in the Mustang district. The turboprop Twin Otter 9N-AET plane had four Indian nationals, two Germans and 13 Nepali passengers besides a three-member Nepali crew. The Indian family who died in the plane crash have been identified as Ashok Tripathi (54) his wife, Vaibhavi Bandekar-Tripathi (51) son Dhanush Tripathi (22) and daughter Ritika Tripathi (18). The family was on vacation in Nepal. They’d changed their flight from Pokhara, Nepal.

The aircraft crew members included Captain Prabhakar Ghimirele, flight operator Kismi Thapa and crew members, Arka and Utsav Pokharelle.

Other passengers on board the flight were Indra Bahadur Gole, Purushottam Gole, Rajankumar Gole, Mike Greet Graf, Basant Lama, Ganesh Narayan Shrestha, Raveena Shrestha, Rashmi Shrestha, Rozina Shrestha, Prakash Sunuwar, Makar Bahadur Tamal, Rammaya Tamal, Sukumaya Tamal, Tulsadevi Tamal and Uwe Wilner.

The Canadian-built plane was flying from the city of Pokhara to Jomsom, a popular tourist town in central Nepal.

A team led by Nepal police inspector Raj Kumar Tamang that reached the crash site by air said, “Some of the bodies of the passengers are beyond recognition. Police gathering the remains”. According to reports, the bodies would be flown down to Kathmandu for post mortem.

The Nepal Army has “physically located” the crash site of the plane that went missing with 22 onboard, including four Indians, on Sunday. The crash site has been located in Sanosware, Thasang-2 in Mustang district, Army Spokesperson Brigadier General Narayan Silwal tweeted today along with the photo of the wreckage with the plane’s tail number clearly visible.

According to news agency ANI, a team of 15 Nepali Army soldiers has been dropped near the crash site to retrieve the bodies. The crash site lies at an elevation of about 14,500 feet while the team has been dropped at 11,000 meters in height.

ANI also quoted Phadindra Mani Pokhrel, Spokesperson of the Home Ministry of the government of Nepal as saying, “We suspected all the passengers on board the aircraft have lost their lives. Our preliminary assessment shows that no one could have survived the plane crash, but the official statement is due.”

The aircraft with 22 people including four Indians on board went missing on Sunday. The plane had reportedly lost contact minutes after it took off from Pokhara in Nepal around 10 am on Sunday. The mishap happened due to bad weather, sources said.

Chief District Officer Netra Prasad Sharma had informed ANI over the phone, “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.”

For the search for missing aircraft, the Nepal Home Ministry had dispatched two private helicopters from Mustang and Pokhara. The Himalayan Times had reported Patrol and search units from security forces, and groups of locals were on-foot in the Dhaulagiri region, searching for the wreckage of the flight that went missing.

Tara Air is the newest and largest airline service provider in Nepal, according to the airline website. It started business in 2009. In 13 years, Tara Air has witnessed three fatal crashes.

Nepal, which has eight of the world’s fourteen highest peaks, including Mt Everest, has a history of air disasters. A plane from the same carrier travelling the same route crashed shortly after takeoff in 2016, killing all 23 people on board. A US-Bangla Air flight had crashed at Tribhuvan International Airport in March 2018, killing all 51 passengers on board. In September 2012, a Sita Air plane crashed into the Tribhuvan International Airport while attempting an emergency landing, killing 19 people. On May 14, 2012, a plane carrying 15 persons from Pokhara to Jomsom crashed near Jomsom airport.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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