Search and rescue teams in Nepal on Tuesday recovered the remaining bodies of the 22 victims aboard a Jomsom-bound flight that crashed Sunday in the Himalayas. The team was also able to retrieve the plane’s black box from the wreckage.
“Last dead body has been recovered,” a Nepali army spokesperson shared on Twitter earlier in the day.
“Arranging to bring remaining 12 dead bodies from crash site to Kathmandu.”
The Tara Air-operated flight went down 20 minutes after taking off from Pokhara, a popular tourist destination west of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital.
Three crew members and 19 passengers, including four Hindu pilgrims and two German trekkers, boarded the Canadian-made De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter on Sunday before it descended into the mountains due to bad weather.
Jomson is a popular hiking destination and also home to Muktinath, a temple sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists.
The flight from Pokhara to Jomson takes about 30 minutes, but low visibility due to heavy fog and rainfall disrupted its usual course.
Nepali officials on Monday said the cause of the crash hadn’t been determined, though they suspect the plane crashed into the mountainside after it lost contact with air traffic controllers while navigating in a challenging airspace.
Puskal Sharma, head of Jomsom Airport, said two small planes had successfully landed earlier that day before the weather took a turn.
However, the flight has a long-standing history of being one of the riskiest routes to undertake in Nepal. Pilots must navigate a challenging terrain of narrow valleys, sharp turns and pockets of airspace with low visibility. Plane crashes are more common than usual in the region.
In 2016, a Tara Air flight crashed while taking the same route as the aircraft that went down on Sunday.
The Nepalese government said it has established a five-member panel to determine the cause of the crash and suggest prevention measures for the future.