KATHMANDU (TIP): All the 18 people on board a missing Nepalese aircraft have been found dead in the remote mountain area on Monday. The incident serves as a reminder of the poor aviation safety record in the country.
The 40-year-old Twin Otter aircraft of the state-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation went missing on Sunday afternoon while flying from the tourist town of Pokhara to remote Jumla in western Nepal in poor weather conditions. Poor weather conditions obstructed search efforts on Sunday.
The wreckage of the plane was found in a highland in Arghakanchi district about 350 kilometres west of Kathmandu and the bodies of the dead — some of them in unrecognizable condition and in pieces — after being alerted of the location by a mobile phone signal. Although there were no aircraft accidents in 2013, there have been two fatal ones each in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The government is expected form an investigation committee to find the cause of the accident, but it seems that the aircraft hit a mountain because visibility was poor and it was snowing, according to Bimlesh Karna, deputy director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.
The plane had left Pokhara, about 200 kilometres west of Kathmandu, at 12.43pm on Sunday and was expected to land in Jumla, about 600 kilometres northwest of Kathmandu, an hour later. But it lost contact half an hour later, Karna said. About 150 police, army and paramilitary personnel and helicopters had been deployed to look for the aircraft from Sunday afternoon. The bodies of the dead have been brought to Kathmandu.