On Sunday 29th May, Tara Air and Nepalese authorities confirmed that a De Havilland Canada Twin Otter flight operated by Tara Air had gone missing. The Nepalese flight was reported missing at around 09:55 AM local time on Sunday, this information was confirmed by an airline spokesperson. The flight was supposed to take only 20 minutes the Tara Air turboprop operating the flight was registered as 9N-AET. On Monday 30th May, search & rescue workers recovered 16 bodies along with the location of the crash site.
The DHC Twin Otter was carrying 19 passengers and 3 crew members (2 pilots and 1 flight attendant) en route to Jomsom (a popular tourist destination in Nepal) from the city of Pokhara. According to the airline, the flight was carrying 16 Nepal nationals, 2 Germans, and 4 Indians, seven of which were women.
The plane lost contact with the tower five minutes before landing at the popular tourist and pilgrimage spot Jomsom, airline officials said. Tara Air mainly operates twin otter turboprop aircraft made in Canada. Flightradar24, a flight-tracking website, said the missing aircraft first flew in April 1979. A spokesman added that Nepalese army troops were hired to assist in the search effort for the missing plane. Officials told Reuters that cloudy weather was preventing search helicopters from flying to areas of the last known location of the flight.
The National Meteorological Bureau said there was thick cloud cover in the Pokhara Jomsom area from the morning. Due to bad weather, the search helicopter had to return to Jomsom. “Helicopters are ready to take off for search from Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Jomsom once weather conditions improve. Army and police search teams have left towards the site,” he said. Police officer Prem Kumar Dani said a land search and rescue team was dispatched near Dhaulagiri, the world’s seventh-highest 26,795-foot (8,167-meter) mountain. A record number of aviation accidents have occurred in Nepal, which has eight of the world’s 14 tallest mountains, including Everest. The weather can change suddenly, and runways are usually located in difficult-to-access mountainous areas.
Update- Monday 30 May
The Tara Air turboprop Twin Otter was on a 20-minute flight when it lost contact with Jomsom airport tower while flying in an area of the steep mountain just before its scheduled landing. Nepalese officials along with search & rescue staff managed to recover the airplane’s black box and 21 bodies out of the 22 passengers and crew. The crash site was strewn with clothes, baggage, and debris.
- Hindustan Times
- ABC News
- The Guardian
- BBC UK