A small passenger plane operated by a private airline in Nepal went missing on Sunday with 22 people on board, including four Indians, minutes after taking off from the tourist city of Pokhara, officials said.
The Tara Air aircraft took off at 9.55 AM from Pokhara, and lost contact with the control tower 15 minutes later, according to an airline spokesperson.
The aircraft was scheduled to land at Jomsom Airport in the Western mountainous region at 10:15 am.
The aircraft lost contact with the tower from the sky above Ghorepani on the Pokhara-Jomsom air route, aviation sources said.
According to an air traffic controller at Jomsom Airport, they have an unconfirmed report about a loud noise in Ghasa of Jomsom.
The Nepal government has deployed two private helicopters from Mustang and Pokhara for the search for missing aircraft. The Nepal Army and police personnel have been dispatched to carry out search through land route, officials added.
Tara Air boasts of having the “widest domestic flights network” in Nepal.
“No other airlines in Nepal flies to the remote STOL (short takeoff and landing) sectors as extensively and frequently as we do. We transport essential supplies to the hinterlands, including food grains, medicines, relief materials and operate flights for rescue purposes,” the airline website says.