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Update: Air crash in Argakhachi

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Nepal Army Rescuers have recovered bodies of all 18 on board on the Nepal Airlines twin otter from the crash site in Argakhachi.

A Nepal Army chopper had spotted the wreckage of the missing Nepal Airlines twin otter on Masine lekh in Argakhachi at an altitude of 7000ft on Monday morning .

“Our helicopter has identifed a wreckage on the side of a hill in Argakhachi,” said Nepal Army spokesperson Jagdish Pokharel.

The Nepal Airlines Twin Otter aircraft on a flight from Kathmandu to Jumla with 18 people on board had been missing since Sunday afternoon in bad weather somewhere over the mountains of central Nepal.

Search for the missing plane has intensifed in Argakhachi, after locals reported hearing a loud sound.

Two search helicopters had to halt their operation due to weather condition on Sunday afternoon. According to Nepal Airlines, a Nepal Army helicopter had been sent from Pokhara and a Fishtail search team had taken off from Nepalgunj.

The plane had made a refuelling stop in Pokhara and took off at 12.43 and was due to land in Jumla 45 minutes later. The pilots was last heard from after contacting air traffic controllers in Bhairawa at 1:13pm. The route from Pokhara to Jumnla is a zig-zag to avoid high mountains and overflies Dhorpatan and Rukum. Weather over Nepal has been overcast with heavy rain and snow with high winds over the mountains.

The short take-off and landing Canadian plane with registration number 9N-ABB is the oldest aircraft flying in Nepal today having entered service in 1975.

Nepal has a notorious record for aviation safety. Although no major crashes occurred in 2013, that was an exception.

Pics: Prem Narayan Acharya

List of recent crashes:

 8 October 2008, Yeti Airlines 103, Kathmandu to Lukla, crashed in Lukla, 18 fatalities

24 August 2010, Agni Air 101, Kathmandu to Lukla, crashed in Makwanpur, 14 fatalities

25 September 2011, Buddha Air 103, Mountain flight, crashed in Lalitpur, 19 fatalities

14 May 2012, Agni Air CHT, Pokhara to Jomsom, crashed in Jomsom, 15 fatalities

28 September 2012, Sita Air 601, Kathmandu to Lukla, crashed in Kathmandu, 19 fatalities

16 May 2013, Nepal Airlines 555, Pokhara to Jomsom, crashed in Jomsom, no fatalities

Air crashes: 114 killed in 6 years

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