The government, which had so far refrained from making any statement, formally declared all 22 dead, and constituted a 5-member investigation committee under Senior Aeronautical Engineer Ratindra Lal Suman. The committee has been asked to establish what led to the crash and recommend measures to prevent any such incident in the future.
Among the 19 passengers – three others were crew members – were four Indians, headed to the Muktinath temple near Jomsom where the Tara Air Twin Otter aircraft, which took off from Pokhara, was to land Sunday morning. It lost contact with the ATC minutes before it was due in Jomsom.
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Meanwhile, PTI reported that, according to a preliminary investigation by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). inclement weather was the reason behind the crash.
The Indians have been identified as Ashok Kumar Tripathy and Vaibhavi Bandekar, a couple who had separated, and their children Dhanush and Ritika.
Another family of four was also on board the flight — Ganesh and Rashmi Shrestha and their two daughters studying in the US.
The Nepal Army, which led the search-and-rescue operation in coordination with Nepal Police and Armed Police, flew 10 of the 21 bodies to Kathmandu in a Mi-17 helicopter. Officials said the bodies will be turned over to families after post-mortem and identification.
The remaining 11 bodies will be brought to the Capital once weather conditions improve. The bodies will be taken from the crash site to Thabang helipad where two private helicopters have been waiting. The team abandoned the search for the 22nd body after dense fog reduced visibility around 4 pm.