Tara Air passenger plane disappears during flight over Nepalese mountains

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A Tara Air passenger plane carrying more than 20 people, including at least two foreign tourists, has gone missing during a flight over the Himalayas in Nepal, officials say. A possible crash site has been located.

The Series 400 Twin Otter aircraft took off from Nepal’s second-largest city of Pokhara just before 8 a.m. local time on Wednesday and was due to fly an 18-minute flight to Jomsom Airport, which is near the popular pilgrimage site Muktinath.

After the aircraft failed to arrive at Jomsom Airport, a search and rescue operation involving multiple army aircraft was launched. A possible crash site was located near the tiny village of Ramche in Myagdi District, where searchers spotted a fire.

Ramche is located about 37 kilometers (23 miles) northwest of Pokhara.

There were conflicting reports about the exact number of people on board the aircraft. An airline spokesperson said 18 passengers and 3 crew members were on board, but police put the numbers at 20 passengers and 3 crew members. Local media circulated a list of passengers that showed 20 names.

Among those on board are two infants and two foreign nationals, one from Kuwait and one from China.

In a brief statement, Tara Air confirmed that one of its aircraft had gone missing, but provided few other details. “It is known that weather at both origin and destination airports was favorable and the [aircraft] was cleared for departure by the control tower at Pokhara,” it said.

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