Rescue workers in Nepal have recovered the bodies of 20 people out of the 22 who were on board a small aircraft that crashed in a remote northwestern region, an aviation official in the capital Kathmandu said on Monday.
"Efforts are underway to bring the bodies to Kathmandu,” Teknath Sitaula, a spokesman for the capital's Tribhuvan International Airport told Reuters.
Four Indians, two Germans and 16 Nepalis were on board the plane, a De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter operated by privately owned Tara Air, according to the airline and government officials.
Netra Prasad Sharma, the most senior bureaucrat in the Mustang district, where the crash took place, said weather conditions remained challenging.
"There is very thick cloud in the area," he told Reuters by phone. "The search for bodies is going on."
Sequence of events
The aircraft was on a 20-minute flight before losing contact with the control tower.
It had taken off from the tourist town of Pokhara, 125 kilometers (80 miles) west of the capital, Kathmandu, and was bound for Jomsom, about 80 km (50 miles) northwest of Pokhara, a popular tourist and pilgrimage site.
Flight-tracking website Flightradar24 said the aircraft, with registration number 9N-AET, made its first flight in April 1979.
Deo Chandra Lal Karna, a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), said five helicopters were ready to help with the rescue process.
Nepal's history of plane crashes
Nepal, home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, including Everest, has a record of air accidents. Its weather can change suddenly and airstrips are typically located in mountainous areas that are hard to reach.
In early 2018, a US-Bangla Airlines flight from Dhaka to Kathmandu crashed on landing and caught fire, killing 51 of the 71 people on board.