A spokesman said there were 19 passengers and three crew on board. The plane was flying from Pokhara to Jomsom, a popular tourist city in central Nepal. The airline said the plane was carrying four Indians, two Germans and 16 Nepalese, and three crew members. 7 of the passengers were women.
Pokhara is 80 miles west of the capital Kathmandu.
An unnamed aviation official said the plane lost contact with the control tower five minutes before landing at the popular tourist and pilgrimage site of Jomsom. Tara Air flies Twin Otter turboprop aircraft mainly built in Canada. The missing plane made its maiden flight in April 1979, according to the flight surveillance website Flightradar24.
The spokesman added that the Nepalese army was involved in the search for the missing plane.
Authorities told Reuters that the search in the area of the plane’s last known location prevented helicopters from flying. The country’s Meteorological Agency said heavy clouds had been observed in the Pokhara-Jomson area since early morning. A search helicopter was forced to return to Jomsom due to inclement weather.
Helicopters are ready to search from Kathmandu, Pokhara and Jomsom once the weather is uniform. Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said in a statement that military and police search teams had been deployed to the area.
A land-based search and rescue team has been sent to the area near Taulagiri Hill, the seventh highest peak in the world at 26,795 feet (8,167 meters), police official Prem Kumar Dani said.
Nepal, with 8 of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest, has a record number of plane crashes. Its weather can change abruptly and airstrips are usually located in mountains that are difficult to reach.
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