Search paused in Nepal for missing plane with 22 on board

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Nepali rescuers called off their hunt for a missing passenger plane with 22 people on board late on Sunday, planning to resume search operations at first light.

The Tara Air plane had taken off from the west-ern town of Pokhara on Sunday morning but lost control with air traffic after 15 minutes, the airline said.

Nepal’s air industry has boomed in recent years, carrying goods and people between hard-to-reach areas as well as foreign trekkers and climbers, but it has a poor safety record.

Rescuers unsuccessfully scoured a remote mountainous area in western Nepal by helicopter and on foot all day on Sunday, as weather hampered search flights.

Nepal Army official Baburam Shrestha told AFP that ground troops would stop at a local school for the night and be joined by additional forces in the morning.

“We will also resume the search operation from our helicopter tomorrow morning once the weather is clear,” he said.

Dev Raj Subedi, a spokesman for Pokhara Air-port, told AFP that three helicopters had had to turn back.

“Right now we cannot say where exactly where the aircraft is and in what condition,” he said.

“There has not been any reporting or information from locals about a big fire or any other such indica-tions.” There were 19 passengers and three crew mem-bers on board the missing plane, which left for the town of Jomson at 9:55am, airline spokesman Su-darshan Bartaula told .—AFP

 

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