ALL 23 passengers of the crashed Tara Air twin otter has been confirmed dead, according to Nepal Army sources. The plane was found crashed at a forest in Soli Ghoptebhir of Myagdi district after four hours of intense search and rescue operation.
Army Spokesperson Brigadier General Tara Bahadur Karki has confirmed that all 23 passengers on board the plane were killed in the crash. Karki said that a team of Nepal Army have reached the crash site and have located the wing and tail section of the plane. However, search is still on for the fuselage.
Aviation Minister Aananda Prasad Pokhrel confirmed that the plane was found crashed at a jungle in Kekarko Butta in the district. Myagdi district DSP Bishwa Raj Khadka said the plane was completely destroyed by fire upon crash.
Police constable Phool Kumar Thapa Magar who was among the first to reach the crash site said the crash site was situated on a very treacherous terrain and the debris of the plane was scattered in an area of some 200 meters. â€œThe plane was on fire and it is still burning,â€ he said during a telephone conversation with The Post. Thapa also said that the weather in the crash site was very cold and deteriorating further.
Various police teams are on their way to the crash site.
The Viking 9N-AHH Twin Otter with 20 passengers and three crew members on board vanished early in the morning en-route Pokhara-Jomsom.
The plane took off from Pokhara Airport at 7:50 am and lost control with Pokhara Air Traffic Control after 10 minutes of take off when it reached the airspace of Ghorepani, Myagdi.
Pilot Roshan Manandhar, during his final conversation with Pokhara Air Traffic Control, mentioned that the flight was normal, said Jasoda Subedi, Chief air traffic controller at Pokhara Airport.
â€˜â€œSee you back, Ghorepani normal, good dayâ€™ were the last words from the captain.
However, the plane did not made any contacts for minutes with the Jomsom Airport. Later on, repeated contacts with the Captain from both Pokhara and Jomsom airports failed. Two helicopters were dispatched from Pokhara for the search mission.
Among the passengers, the airline officials said that a Chinese, a Kuwaiti and two infants were on board.
Tara Air added the brand new Viking DHC6-400 Twin Otter aircraft to its fleet in September last year.
The short take-off and landing (STOL) plane boasts cutting edge avionics technology with an integrated full glass cockpit that features an enhanced ground proximity warning system, traffic collision avoidance system and full colour weather radar.
Plane still burning: Locals
Nabin Khadka, a local of Dana-1, Kavre in Myagdi district, who reached the crashed site with police constable Phool Kumar Thapa Magar said the debris of the plane was scattered and the aircraft was still on fire.
â€œThe plane is still on fire,â€ he said during a telephone conversation with The Post. Thapa said the weather in the crash area was extremely cold and a rainfall was likely. – http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/