Twin otter aircraft carrying 18 passengers to Jumla from Pokhara belonging to Nepal Airlines missing form Sunday afternoon is found crashed at the jungle of Khidim, Argakhanchi district minutes after it took off.
According to the government officials, fire flames were marked at the jungle in Khidim where the crash took place. Though rescue team have not been able to land at the crash site because of bad weather.
CDO of Argakhanchi Kamal Raj Dhakal informed that police were on their way to the crash site which lies on the border of three districts—Argakhanchi, Gulmi and Palpa.
The rescue team is finding it difficult to reach the probable crash site. According to officials at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the helicopter rescue operation has been stopped because of poor visibility in the evening while ground search operation from Palpa, Gulmi and Argakhanchi is still going on. Large numbers of police and Army officials have been deployed to locate the crash site.
"We haven’t received any information about the crash from the crash site and its surrounding," said Bimlesh Lal Karna, Chief Air Traffic Controller at the Tribhuvan International Airport. "The probable site might be in remote location."
According to Karna, the probable crash site might be one and half hour walking distance (uphill) from Khidim village in Argakhanchi district.
There were 18 passengers including three crew members, one child and a foreigner on board the plane (9N ABB-DHC6) that was scheduled to land at 1:45 pm at Jumla Airport.
The aircraft had gone out of contact with air traffic control tower in Bhairahawa since 1:13 pm after asking permission for diverting the plane. The aircraft had taken off from the Pokhara Airport at 12:43 pm.
The crew members include Captain Shankar Shrestha, co-pilot Rabinda Banjara and Air hostess Muna Maharjan.
A helicopter of Fishtail Air was deployed from Nepalgunj immediately after the confirmation of the missing aircraft. A team of Nepal Army from Tansen, Palpa district headquarters, and a police team from Mujhum have been deployed for rescue operation.
Though the visibility of the Pokhara Airport and the plane´s destination Airport was said to be fair (7 km), the officials have suspected the weather might have deteriorated in the mid-way after the plane left.
Source: Kantipur Daily News