Four members of a family from Mumbai are among 22 people on board a small Nepalese private airlines plane which went missing in the mountainous region of the Himalayan nation after it took off from the tourist city of Pokhara on Sunday morning, officials said The Twin Otter 9N-AET plane belonging to Tara Air, which took off at 10:15 am from Pokhara, lost contact with the tower 15 minutes after it flew, according to a spokesperson at Tara Air.
The three member crew of the aircraft was led by captain Prabhakar Prasad Ghimire. Utsav Pokhrel is the co-pilot while Kismi Thapa is the air hostess, My Republica newspaper reported, quoting Pokhara Airport Information Officer Dev Raj Adhikari.
The airline has issued the list of passengers which identified four Indians as Ashok Kumar Tripathi, Dhanush Tripathi, Ritika Tripathi, and Vaibhawi Tripathi.
The aircraft was scheduled to land at Jomsom Airport in the Western mountainous region at 10:15 am.
The aircraft lost contact with the tower from the sky above Ghorepani on the Pokhara-Jomsom air route, aviation sources said. According to an air traffic controller at Jomsom Airport, they have an unconfirmed report about a loud noise in Ghasa of Jomsom. It is suspected that the aircraft crashed in the Dhaulagiri area, the paper quoted DSP Ram Kumar Dani of Mustang as saying.
A helicopter that flew from Pokhara in search of the missing aircraft has returned without any success due to bad weather. The weather condition at Pokhara-Jomsom route is currently cloudy with rainfall, affecting the search, according to the airline’s sources.
Nepal Army and Nepal Police personnel have been dispatched to carry out search through land route.