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Nepal plane crash kills all 23 aboard, police say

Kathmandu: A small plane crashed in Nepal on Wednesday in bad weather, killing all 23 people on board, a police official said, the country's second air disaster in as many years.

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Plane crash kills 23 in Nepal

A plane operated by Tara Air has crashed shortly after take-off from Pokhara on a flight to Jomsom.

The Twin Otter aircraft, operated by the Nepalese airline Tara Air, took off at 7.50 am from the city of Pokhara, 125 kilometres west of the capital, Kathmandu, for a short flight to Jomsom when it lost contact with the control tower.

It vanished after 11 minutes, said Pavan Gautam, an air traffic controller at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.

Two infants were among those aboard, he said.

The charred wreckage of the small plane has been found in mountainous terrain in Nepal, a senior official said.

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Ananda Prasad Pokharel, Nepal's minister of culture, tourism and civil aviation, said there was little chance that anyone had survived the crash. He said soldiers and police officers had reached the crash site in the Myagdi district, about 160 kilometres northwest of Kathmandu, to carry out rescue and recovery operations.

"It has broken into pieces," police officer Bishwaraj Khadka said from Myagdi, the town nearest the crash site. "There are no survivors."

A Chinese national and a Kuwaiti citizen were among the dead.

Officials said thick fog had enveloped the Mustang area where Jomsom is located.

Nepal's mountainous terrain and frequently bad weather have often been contributing factors in plane and helicopter crashes here. In May, six US Marines, two Nepalese army officials and five civilians were killed in a helicopter crash in the mountains east of Kathmandu during a rescue mission after an earthquake. A helicopter on a relief mission for Doctors Without Borders crashed northeast of the capital in June, killing four.

Mustang is a popular hiking area on the Mount Annapurna trekking circuit. A similar aircraft crashed in west Nepal in 2014, killing 18 people. 

Reuters

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