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At least 14 people have died in a plane crash in Nepal, and rescue efforts are still underway

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - Officials in Nepal said the chances of finding survivors were poor as rescue crews explored a remote Him...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - Officials in Nepal said the chances of finding survivors were poor as rescue crews explored a remote Himalayan slope scattered with the wreckage of a small plane that crashed with 22 people aboard on Monday.

Operated by privately owned Tara Air, the aircraft went down during cloudy weather on Sunday and was located by Nepal's army earlier on Monday after search activities that were paused overnight were resumed.

"The chances of finding survivors are quite slim," said Deo Chandra Lal Karna, a spokesman for Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority.

Rescue teams have found the deaths of 14 individuals so far, according to Tek Raj Sitaula, a spokesman for Nepal's capital Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport.

"We're still looking for others," Sitaula told Reuters.

On Sunday morning, a De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter aircraft took off from Pokhara, a tourist resort 125 kilometers (80 miles) west of Kathmandu.

Jomsom, a major tourist and pilgrimage destination about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Pokhara, is a 20-minute flight away.

However, the plane, which was carrying four Indians, two Germans, and 16 Nepalis, lost touch with the Pokhara control tower five minutes before it was scheduled to land, according to airline officials.

The accident location is near Nepal's border with China, where Mount Dhaulagiri, the world's seventh highest mountain at 8,167 meters (26,795 feet), is located.

Officials said soldiers from Nepal's army and other rescue personnel were working in challenging mountainous terrain at a height of roughly 14,500 feet and under heavy cloud cover.

Weather conditions were difficult, according to Netra Prasad Sharma, the most senior bureaucrat in the Mustang district, where the tragedy occurred.

"There is a lot of cloud in the vicinity," he said over the phone to Reuters. "We're still looking for bodies."

The aircraft, with the registration number 9N-AET, took its first flight in April 1979, according to flight tracking website Flightradar24.

Nepal has a history of aviation accidents, as it is home to eight of the world's fourteen highest mountains, including Everest. Its weather can vary quickly, and airstrips are often placed in difficult-to-reach hilly terrain.

A US-Bangla Airlines flight from Dhaka to Kathmandu crashed and caught fire on landing in early 2018, killing 51 of the 71 passengers on board.

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