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Plane wreckage found, 17 bodies recovered

KATHMANDU, NEPAL (AP) – The wreckage of a plane lost in Nepal’s mountains was found yesterday scattered on a mountainside and 17 of the 22 people on board were confirmed dead, the army said.

Rescuers recovered 17 bodies from the crash site, said Teknath Sitaula of Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu. There was no word on survivors, and the search of the crash site was continuing.

Aerial photos of the crash site showed aircraft parts scattered on rocks and moss on the side of a mountain gorge.

The Tara Air turboprop Twin Otter lost contact with the airport tower on Sunday while over an area of deep gorges and mountaintops on a 20-minute flight.

The army said the plane crashed in Sanosware in Mustang district close to the mountain town of Jomsom where it was heading after taking off from the resort town of Pokhara, 200 kilometres west of Kathmandu.

According to tracking data from flightradar24.com, the 43-year-old aircraft took off from Pokhara at 9.55am and transmitted its last signal at 10.07am at an altitude of 3,900 metres.

Four Indians and two Germans were on the plane. The three crew members and other passengers were Nepali nationals.

The plane’s destination is popular with foreign hikers who trek the mountain trails and also with Indian and Nepalese pilgrims who visit the revered Muktinath temple.

The Twin Otter has been in service in Nepal for about 50 years, during which it has been involved in about 21 accidents, according to aviationnepal.com.

The wreckage of a plane in a gorge in Sanosware in Mustang district close to the mountain town of Jomsom, west of Kathmandu, Nepal. PHOTO: AP
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