Plane carrying 22 people missing in Nepal

A small passenger plane with 22 people on-board, including an American went missing soon after taking off from an airport in eastern Nepal, officials said.

Kathmandu: A small passenger plane with
22 people on-board, including an American went missing soon
after taking off from an airport in eastern Nepal, officials
said on Wednesday.

The Canadian-built Twin Otter aircraft belonging to
Tara Airlines, a private company, lost contact with the
control tower of the airport at Lamidanda in Khotang district
of eastern Nepal minutes after it took off from there.

The plane, which was flying to Kathmandu from
Lamidanda, was carrying 19 passengers, including an American
and three crew members. It went missing at 3.40 pm local time,
the officials said.

Two search helicopters have been sent to locate the
missing aircraft, according to airport officials here.

However, the Lamidanda-Kathmandu route is over
mountainous terrain which may make the search operation
difficult.

The passengers were returning to Kathmandu after
visiting the Hindu temple `Halesi Mahade`.

Last month a helicopter crashed near Mount Everest in
Nepal during a mission to rescue two stranded mountaineers,
killing the pilot and an engineer.

A plane headed for the Everest region crashed in bad
weather killing all 14 people on board in August, including
four Americans, a Japanese and a British national.

Tara Air is a subsidiary of Yeti Airlines, a
privately-owned domestic airline founded in 1998.

The last major accident involving Yeti was in 2008
when a passenger plane crashed on landing at Lukla airport,
the gateway to Mount Everest. All 19 people were killed on
board, most of whom were German tourists.

PTI

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