Wreckage of missing plane found in Nepal; all 23 aboard dead

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- Rescuers found the wreckage of a small plane carrying 23 people that crashed in bad weather Wednesday into a mountain in central Nepal, police said.

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All those aboard, including two foreigners, were confirmed dead.

Police official Harihari Yogi said the wreckage of the plane, which was on a scheduled 18-minute flight, was still burning and all the bodies were charred. He said the aircraft appeared to have flown directly into the mountain.

The foreigners were from China and Kuwait. All others on the plane were Nepali citizens, including two children.

The Twin Otter aircraft operated by domestic Tara airlines had taken off from Pokhara, a resort town 200 kilometres (125 miles) west of Kathmandu, and was heading north to Jomsom, the starting point for trekkers going into mountainous areas. Airport official Yogendra Kuwar said it lost contact shortly after takeoff.

Only small planes can fly the route, which goes between mountains.

Helicopters searched the route for hours after the plane was reported missing, but were hampered by poor weather, Kuwar said. Searchers were finally able to locate the wreckage after residents of Rupshe, a small village, reported having heard a loud explosion.

Jomson is popular among foreign tourists visiting the Mount Annapurna and Mustang region for trekking, and also among Hindu pilgrims visiting the Muktinath temple.



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