Twenty victims have been found after a Nepal plane crash, and hopes for the two missing are fading

KATHMANDU, May 30 (Reuters) – Survivors of 22 people aboard a small plane that crashed in the Himalayas on Monday in Nepal are fading, officials say.

Two Germans, four Indians and 16 Nepalese were on board the de Haviland Canada DHC-6-300 twin Otter plane that crashed 15 minutes after taking off from the tourist town of Pokhara, 125 km (80 miles) west of Kathmandu on Sunday morning.

Theo Chandra Lal Karna, spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, said: “The chances of finding the survivors are slim.

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Nepali soldiers and rescue workers recovered 20 bodies from the rubble scattered on a steep slope at an altitude of about 14,500 feet.

The rough terrain and bad weather were a hindrance to search teams. A picture published in the Nepalese media shows uniformed rescue workers moving a body from the rubble and using ropes on a stretcher on steep grass mounds.

“There is a very thick cloud in the area,” Nedra Prasad Sharma, a senior official in the Mustang district where the accident took place, told Reuters by phone. The search for the bodies is ongoing.

In Kathmandu, relatives of the dead were waiting for bodies to be brought from the crash site, and the formal identification of victims has not yet taken place, the Air Transport Authority said in a tweet.

“I’m waiting for my son’s body,” Maniram Pokrell told Reuters, his voice choking. His son Utsav Pokhrel, 25, was a co-pilot.

The plane, operated by privately owned Tara Air, crashed in cloudy weather on Sunday morning and no wreckage was found by the Nepalese military until Monday morning. read more

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Jomsom is a popular tourist and pilgrimage destination located about 80 km (50 miles) northwest of Pokhara – usually 20 minutes by plane.

But airline officials said Pokhara lost contact with the control tower five minutes before landing. read more

The crash site is near Nepal’s border with China, and is home to the world’s seventh highest peak, Taulagiri, at 8,167 meters (26,795 feet).

The aircraft, with registration number 9N-AET, launched its first aircraft 43 years ago, according to flight surveillance website Flightradar24.

Plane crashes are not uncommon in Nepal, which has 8 of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest, because of the sudden change in weather and the dangerous runways in the mountains.

In early 2018, a US-Bungalow Airlines flight from Dhaka to Kathmandu caught fire while landing, killing 51 of the 71 people on board.

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Gopal Sharma’s statement; Devajyot Koshal and Krishna n. Das wrote; Editing: Muralikumar Anandaraman, Kenneth Maxwell and Simon Cameron-Moore

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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