A plane which had gone missing in Nepal on Sunday morning is feared to have crashed in Mustang area. The Nepalese Tara Air’s 9 NAET twin-engine aircraft, carrying 22 passengers including 4 Indians and 3 crew members flew from Pokhara to Jomsom at 9:55 in the morning. According to Nepalese airport authorities, the aircraft lost contact after reaching the Lete area in Mustang district, known for Mount Dhaulagiri, the seventh highest mountain in the world. The district is also known for the world’s deepest gorge that runs three miles vertical between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountains.
“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 was quoted by ANI as saying. According to police officials, the aircraft feared to have crashed in the Titi area of Lete in Mustang district. Locals from Titi informed the police officials that they heard an unusually loud crashing sound.
The plane had on board 22 passengers and 3 crew members, including 4 Indians. “The embassy is in touch with their families,” officials of the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said, even as it opened an emergency hotline. Three Japanese nationals were also among the passengers of the ill-fated plane.
As soon as the news of the plane missing was flashed, the Nepalese Ministry of Home Affairs pressed two private helicopters for search and rescue operations, even as the Nepali Army deployed a Mi-17 helicopter to chip in the operations.
The search operations were, however, called off due to heavy snow fall making the search impossible in the difficult mountainous terrain with deep gorges and peaks as high as 7000 m.