Missing Nepal Tara Air passenger plane 'found crashed in jungle' amid fears all on board are dead

Aviation minister says the plane was found on fire and 'completely destroyed', local media report

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The Independent Online

A missing Nepalese passenger jet which went missing with 23 people on board has been found crashed and "completely destroyed" in the jungle, according to local media reports.

Local police told the Nepal Times there appeared to be "no survivors", while aviation minister Aananda Prasad Pokhrel was quoted by the Kathmandu Post saying the plane was scattered across an area some 200 metres wide.

The aircraft, operating by domestic airline Tara Air, was on an 18-minute flight on Wednesday when it lost contact after take-off. Two foreigners, 18 other passengers and three crew are understood to have been on board.

File photo shows a Tara Air DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft, similar to one that went missing

The plane's wreckage was found around four hours after it was due to have landed, crashed in a jungle in the Kekarko Butta district.

"The plane was on fire and it is still burning," said police constable Phool Kumar Thapa Magar, reportedly one of the first to arrive on the scene. 

The Twin Otter plane had taken off at 7.50am local time from Pokhara, a resort town 125 miles west of Kathmandu, and was heading north to Jomsom, the starting point for trekkers going into mountainous areas. Only small planes can fly the route, which goes between mountains.