Light Aircraft

August 18, 2016

Aerotrek A220-A240 features

A Twin Otter plane landed at Jomsom, Mustang, Nepal, Feb. 24, 2016. Zuma Press

This post has been updated to reflect the death-toll.

A light aircraft carrying 20 passengers and three crew crashed in a forested, mountainous area in northwestern Nepal on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people, officials said.

Rescuers located the burning wreckage of the plane hours later and found the charred bodies of 17 people, according to Lokendra Singh Guru, a police inspector leading the rescue team. Six others on the plane are also feared dead, he added.

“The wreckage of the plane is scattered around 200 to 300 meters, and we are finding it difficult to search the remaining bodies because it has started snowing, ” Mr. Guru said.

Earlier, the Twin-Otter 400 series plane lost contact with controllers soon after taking off from Pokhara, a popular tourist town in western Nepal, for the mountain town of Jomsom at 7.50 a.m. local time (0205 GMT), said Bhim Raj Rai, spokesman for Tara Air.

The 20 passengers included two foreigners—one Chinese national and one Kuwaiti—and two infants.

The weather at both the origin and destination airports was favorable, and the plane had been cleared for departure, Tara Air said in its statement.

Aviation safety has been a continuing worry in Nepal due to the country’s mountainous terrain and concerns about standards.

In February 2014, 18 people died when a Nepal Airlines flight crashed in the west of the country. In May 2012, 15 people died when a private carrier crashed while landing at Jomsom.

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