Block mountains

Plane wreckage found in the mountains of Nepal; 21 bodies found – The Denver Post

By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Rescuers searching a mountainside in Nepal on Monday found the bodies of 21 of 22 people who were on board a plane that crashed the day before, officials said.

The search is continuing for the remaining person, Kathmandu airport spokesman Tek Nath Sitaula said.

Recovery efforts were delayed as some bodies were trapped under the aircraft wreckage. Rescuers working with their bare hands struggled to move the metal debris.

Aerial photos of the crash site showed aircraft parts strewn over rocks and moss on the side of a mountain gorge.

Tara Air’s Twin Otter turboprop lost contact with the airport tower on Sunday while on a scheduled 20-minute flight through an area of ​​deep gorges and mountain peaks.

Relatives waited most of the day at the airport to hear from their loved ones.

Four Indians and two Germans were on the plane, Tara Air said. All three crew members and other passengers were Nepali nationals, he added.

German news agency dpa reported that the two Germans were a man and a woman from the western state of Hesse.

“Unfortunately, we have to assume at this point that the two people are no longer alive,” said dpa, citing a spokesman for the interior ministry of the state of Hesse. “On the part of the Hessian police, relatives have already been informed and care measures initiated.”

According to local reports, the passengers included two Nepalese families, one with four members and the other with seven.

The military said the plane crashed at Sanosware in Mustang district near the mountain town of Jomsom, where it was heading after taking off from the resort town of Pokhara, 200 kilometers (125 miles) away. west of Kathmandu.

According to tracking data from flightradar24.com, the 43-year-old plane took off from Pokhara at 9:55 a.m. and transmitted its last signal at 10:07 a.m. at an altitude of 12,825 feet (3,900 meters).

The plane’s destination is popular with foreign trekkers who trek its mountain trails, and with Indian and Nepalese pilgrims who visit the revered temple of Muktinath.

The wreckage was located by villagers who were searching the area for the Yarsagumba mushroom, commonly known as Himalayan Viagra, according to local reports.

Setopati’s new website quoted a villager, Bishal Magar, as saying they had heard of the missing plane on Sunday but were unable to reach the site until Monday morning after tracking the smell of fuel.

Magar said it looked like the plane may have clipped the top of a small mountain and then crashed into a larger mountain.

The Twin Otter, a rugged aircraft originally built by Canadian aircraft manufacturer De Havilland, has been in service in Nepal for about 50 years, during which time it has been involved in about 21 accidents, according to aviationnepal.com.

The aircraft, with its top-mounted wing and fixed landing gear, is valued for its durability and ability to take off and land on short runways.

Production of the aircraft initially ended in the 1980s. Another Canadian company, Viking Air, returned the model to production in 2010.