Officials confirmed that a twin-engine plane carrying 22 people, including three crew members, went missing in the mountainous province of Mustang on Sunday morning.
The aircraft, designated 9 NAET, took off from Pokhara towards Jomsom at 9:55 a.m. and lost touch after reaching the Lete district of Mustang. Tara Air’s 9 NAET twin-engine aircraft, transporting 19 people from Pokhara to Jomsom, lost communication at 9:55 a.m., according to airport officials.
As per the State TV, the missing aircraft was hosting 4 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” region 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.
Mustang is one of the Himalayan nation’s hilly and fifth-largest districts, and it is home to the Muktinath Temple pilgrimage. The district, often known as “Land Beyond the Himalayas,” is located in the Kali Gandaki valley of Western Nepal’s Himalayan area.
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.