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Wreckage from a plane crash and the remains of 21 people were recovered Monday in the Himalayas, while one person is still missing.
On Sunday, the Tara Air turboprop plane had 22 people on board when it crashed into a mountain gorge during a 20-minute flight bound for hiking destination Jomsom, Nepal. The plane reportedly lost contact with the airport tower and struck the side of a mountain, according to the Associated Press.
“Four Indians and two Germans were on the plane, Tara Air said,” the AP reported. “The three crew members and other passengers were Nepali nationals, it said.”
Some of the bodies were pinned under the wreckage, delaying recovery efforts since rescuers had to work with their bare hands to remove pieces of the plane. Bad weather also prevented Nepali Army helicopters from searching for the missing plane on Sunday. Rescuers, however, found the crash site after weather conditions improved Monday and recovered all but one of the 22 bodies. The search continues for the last victim, but rescuers are confident that “no one is alive.”
Some of the victims’ families waited hours for any news of their relatives on board the 43-year-old plane.
According to Nepali media, seven of the Nepali passengers were family members heading to the Muktinath Temple, a holy site for Buddhists and Hindus.
German news reported that two crash victims were from Hesse in West Germany. “Unfortunately, we have to assume at this point that the two people are no longer alive,” a spokesperson for the Hesse state interior ministry said. “On the part of the Hessian police, relatives have already been informed and care measures initiated.”
The plane took off from Pokhara, another city in Nepal, at 9:55 am Sunday but soon hit bad weather. Just 12 minutes after leaving Pokhara, the plane transmitted its last signal, flying above 12,000 feet.
“The army said the plane crashed in Sanosware in Mustang district close to the mountain town of Jomsom, where it was heading after taking off from the resort town of Pokhara, 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Kathmandu,” the AP noted.
Villagers searching for a fungus, known in the area as “Himalayan Viagra,” found the wreckage Monday after smelling fuel, according to Bishal Magar, a local villager. Magar explained that the plane seemed to have “clipped” the top of a smaller mountain before crashing into a larger peak.