The Nepal Army and its civil aviation authority have not ascertained for sure where a plane with 22 on board, which had been missing for over five hours, may have gone down. Four Indian nationals were also on board the Tara Airlines plane that took off from Pokhara at 9.55 am today.
Earlier, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal tweeted a statement saying the plane has crashed near a river. The Nepal Army tweeted, however, that the plane has not been located yet.
"...We are trying to reach the place where locals have allegedly seen something burning. Once our troops reach the location then only we can verify the findings officially and independently. Our rescue effort from ground and air is relentless," the Nepal Army spokesperson said.
Towards late evening, the army said it has stopped the search and rescue efforts for the day and would continue early morning on Monday.
"NA (Nepal Army) has halted all efforts of search and rescue for today due to loss of daylight and adverse weather. The search will be resumed early in the morning tomorrow both from air and ground. Our search and rescue team with HC is on standby," the army said.
NA has halted all efforts of search and rescue for today due to loss of daylight and adverse weather. The search will be resumed early in the morning tomorrow both from air and ground. Our search and rescue team with HC is on standby at Jomsom.— NASpokesperson (@NaSpokesperson) May 29, 2022
Air traffic control lost contact 15 minutes after the Twin Otter aircraft took off. The aircraft's last known location was in an area around Ghorepani, a village at 2,874 metres above sea level, according to the aviation authority.
प्रेस विज्ञप्ति-२ pic.twitter.com/ovMxyS1CoP— Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (@hello_CAANepal) May 29, 2022
The Civil Aviation Authority said that in addition to two choppers, personnel from the army, police and the Himalayan Rescue Association had been deployed to conduct search operations on foot.
"Right now we cannot say where exactly where the aircraft is and in what condition. There has not been any reporting or information from locals about a big fire or any other such indications," said Dev Raj Subedi, a spokesman for Pokhara Airport, later told news agency AFP.
Jomsom is a popular trekking destination in the Himalayas about 20 minutes by plane from Pokhara, which lies 200 km west of the capital Kathmandu.
Tara Air is a subsidiary of Yeti Airlines, a privately owned domestic carrier which services many remote destinations across Nepal.
It suffered its last fatal accident in 2016 on the same route when a plane with 23 on board crashed into a mountainside in Myagdi district.