Rescuers unable to reach site

A Nepal Airlines plane with 18 occupants crashed Sunday in bad weather in the north-west of the country, but rescuers have been unable to reach the presumed site in a forest and details remained sketchy.

The Nepal Civil Aviation Authority said one of the people on board was from Denmark. The rest were Nepalese. The persons on board the flight had comprised 14 adult passengers, a minor and three crew.

An online newspaper, Setopati, published the flight manifest.

Contact with the plane was lost 33 minutes after take off. The Civil Aviation Authority said the Twin Otter craft operated by Nepal Airlines had left the western lake city of Pokhara and was bound for Jumla in the north.

“Villagers in Arghakhanchi’s Dhaaba village said they saw fire in the nearby forest,” said Kamal Dhakal, a chief district officer. “We haven’t been able to reach the location due to bad weather.” Arghakanchi district borders on Gulmi district, where officer Dhakal is based.

Security personnel were being deployed to the area, but bad weather was hampering rescue operations. A plane carrying a search crew could not land because of the weather. In the past three days, Nepal has been hit by heavy snow and rain.

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