Missing Nepal plane found, 22 dead

2010-12-16 10:28

Katmandu - All 22 people aboard on a small plane died when it crashed in Nepal's mountainous east, searchers said on Thursday after finding the wreckage of the plane that had gone missing a day earlier.

The Rescue Coordination Committee at Katmandu Airport said on Thursday that searchers found the wreckage near a village about 160km east of the capital, Katmandu.

Police official Bhesh Bahadur Thapa stationed near the crash site said by telephone that the wreckage was scattered over 300m radius on the sides of a mountain. It was not yet clear what caused the crash.

Thapa said the rescuers were collecting the bodies and preparing them to be sent back to Katmandu.

The plane had been chartered to carry a group of pilgrims to a Hindu temple and was on its way back to the capital.

The Canadian-built Twin Otter aircraft belonging to domestic Tara Air took off on Wednesday from Lamidanda, about 320km to the east of Katmandu, and then disappeared.

Airport official Dinesh Shrestha said three rescue aircraft including an army helicopter scoured the area on Wednesday evening and early on Thursday and located the crash site.

The three crew members and 18 passengers were Nepali nationals, while another passenger was a Tibetan holding a US passport. Other details were not available.