Nepal Plane Crash: 21 bodies recovered, fate of 1 passenger remains unclear

Nepali Army has recovered 21 dead bodies out of 22 people (including 19 passengers and 3 crew members) onboard the ill-fated Tara Air flight. The Army took 10 bodies to the base station on Monday evening (May 30) after a plane travelling from Pokhara to Jomsong crashed onto the hills killing all 22 onboard. The crash took place on Sunday morning (May 29) after a small plane lost contact with ATC 15 minutes into the flight, just 5 minutes away from the destination. After searching for the whole day, the wreckage of the plane was spotted in a remote valley, and reaching their became difficult to due to the bad weather.  

“Till now we have recovered 21 dead bodies. 10 bodies are carried back to the base station with the help of Mi-17 helicopter in Khabang,” said Teknath Situala, the Spokesperson at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu who has been overseeing the rescue and search operation told ANI. The Army reached the crash site on Monday morning (May 30).

“Because of bad weather conditions rescue operation was very difficult even with 50-60 rescuers deployed. Three helicopters are also stationed which has been engaged in retrieving the bodies located by the rescuers from accident site to nearby base station,” he added further. Operated by Tara Air, domestic air service provider, the turboprop aircraft en route to Jomsom from Pokhara crashed at an elevation of 14, 500 feets at the base of Manapathi peak in Mustang District on Sunday.

Search operation for the missing body is continuing in the Himalayas which as per the officials is engulfed by thick blanket of fog reducing the visibility. “The site of accident is located at 14,500 feet, making the terrain extremely sloppy. The constant rain and clouds has created difficulties for the rescuers. Despite that, they are doing their very best to retrieve the dead bodies and ferry it to base station and back to Kathmandu,” an airport official added.

Out of 21 recovered bodies- 10 have been carried back to Kathmandu for postmortem. Remaining bodies will be flown back to capital, informed the officials. The twin-otter aircraft, which took off from Pokhara for Jomsom in Mustang at 9:55 am (NST) on Sunday, lost contact shortly after takeoff and was later found at Sansure Cliff of Thasang Rural Municipality-2 in Mustang on Monday morning. A total of 22 passengers, including four Indians, two Germans and three crew members, were on board the plane.

Soon after the incident, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of the Himalayan Nation issued a press statement on Monday regarding the formation of a five-member panel to probe into the tragic crash. stating that Senior Aeronautical Engineer Ratish Chandra Lal Suman would lead the team. A preliminary investigation made by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has showed that the crash might have occurred due to the bad weather conditions.

Also read: Nepal plane crash: Same month, same route, another tragedy after 10 years

CAAN Director General Pradeep Adhikari told a meeting of the International Committee of the Parliament on Monday that the Tara Air plane met with the accident because of inclement weather. “Preliminary investigation showed that the aircraft which should have made a right turn instead took a left turn due to the bad weather and crashed,” he said further.Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba extended his heartfelt tributes to the deceased and expressed condolences to the bereaved families via twitter.

The Tara Air’s 9 NAET twin-engine aircraft had crashed in Kowang village of the Mustang district hours after it went missing in the mountainous district after taking off from Pokhara city and bound for Jomsom on Sunday morning.Mustang is one of the mountainous and fifth-largest districts of the Himalayan nation which hosts the pilgrimage of Muktinath Temple. The district, also known as “Land beyond the Himalayas”, is located in the Kali Gandaki valley of the Himalayan region of Western Nepal.

With ANI inputs

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