Missing aircraft with 22 passengers including 4 Indians found in Nepal’s Mustang area

29 May, 2022 | Vaishali Sharma

"Status is yet to be ascertained. The ground is accessing the situation," Tribhuwan International Airport chief confirmed.

Tara Air’s 9 NAET twin-engine aircraft, which went missing in the hilly province of Mustang on Sunday morning, was discovered in the area’s Kowang hamlet, according to a Nepal Airport official.

“Status is yet to be ascertained. The ground is accessing the situation,” Tribhuwan International Airport chief confirmed. According to information provided to the Nepal Army by villagers, the Tara Air jet crashed at the mouth of the Lamche river beneath the Manapathi Himal avalanche. Army spokesperson Narayan Silwal stated that the Nepal Army was in route to the spot through land and air.

Tara Air’s 9 NAET twin-engine aircraft carrying 22 people, including four Indians and three Japanese nationals, had lost communication after reaching the Lete district of Mustang at 9:55 a.m. on Sunday, according to airport officials.

According to State TV, the missing plane was carrying four Indians among others.

“The aircraft was seen over the sky of Jomsom in Mustang and then had diverted to Mt. Dhaulagiri after which it hadn’t come into contact,” Chief District Officer Netra Prasad Sharma confirmed ANI over the phone.

According to authorities, the plane is believed to have crashed in the “Titi” neighbourhood of Lete in the Mustang District.

“Locals from Titi have called and informed us that they have heard an unusual sound as if there was some bang. We are deploying a helicopter to the area for the search operation,” Ram Kumar Dani, DSP of District Police Office, Mustang told ANI.

The Home Ministry has sent two private helicopters from Mustang and Pokhara to look for the missing plane. A Nepal Army helicopter is also being prepped for deployment in the hunt, said Phadindra Mani Pokharel, a spokeswoman for the Home Ministry, over the phone.

The historic territory of Mustang (from the Tibetan Muntan meaning “fertile plain”) is primarily dry and parched. This area is home to the world’s deepest valley, which drops three miles vertically between the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges.