Wreckage of plane with 22 people on board found in Nepalese mountains

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The military said the wreckage of a plane carrying 22 people was found in Nepal’s mountains on Monday, with its wreckage strewn across the hillside. No word on survivors.

On Sunday, the Tara Air turboprop twin otter lost contact with the airport tower during a 20-minute flight as it flew over deep river canyons and mountaintop areas before its scheduled landing.

The military said the plane crashed in Sanosware, in the Mustang district near the mountain town of Jomsom, after taking off from the resort town of Pokhara, 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Kathmandu.

Aerial photos of the crash site posted by the military on Twitter showed parts of the plane scattered around the mountainside.

No other details were provided.

The search for the plane was suspended due to bad and dark weather on Sunday night, but resumed on Monday.

According to tracking data from flightradar24.com, the 43-year-old plane took off from Pokhara at 9:55am (04:10GMT) and took off at 10:07am (04:22GMT) The last signal was launched at an altitude of 12,825 feet (3,900 meters).

There were four Indians and two Germans on the plane. The three crew members and other passengers are Nepalese nationals.

The plane’s destination is popular with foreign trekkers who hike the mountain as well as Indian and Nepalese pilgrims who visit the revered Muktina temple.

Originally built by Canadian aircraft manufacturer De Havilland, the rugged Twin Otter has been in service in Nepal for about 50 years, during which time it has had about 21 accidents, according to Aviationnepal.com.

The aircraft, with its top-mounted wings and fixed landing gear, is prized for its durability and ability to take off and land on short runways.

Production of these aircraft initially ended in the 1980s. Another Canadian company, Viking Air, put the model back into production in 2010.

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