Twin Otter Wreckage Found In Nepal; 23 Dead

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Search crews have found the wreckage of a de Havilland Twin Otter and the bodies of 23 people on board in the mountainous terrain of central Nepal. The airplane, operated by Tara Air, departed at 7:50 a.m. local time Wednesday on a route between Pokhara and Jomsom. The flight was scheduled to be less than 20 minutes, but contact with the Otter was lost about eight minutes after takeoff, according to CNN. Some residents in the area then reported seeing flames burning in a forest, while others heard an explosion, according to media reports. Helicopters and rescue teams searched the route in terrain at altitudes around 16,000 feet, hampered by fog, the CNN report said. The wreckage was still burning when they found it hours later, The Associated Press reported. Most of the bodies were burned beyond recognition.

The 23 people aboard the Otter, mostly citizens of Nepal, included three crew members and two infants, according to news reports, but the number had been revised from previous figures. Tara Air's statement on the crash said there were 23 passengers "along with" two infants and three crew members. A Tara Air spokesman said the aircraft was delivered new from Canada in September, CNN reported.