AN AIRLINER is feared to have crashed after going missing over Nepal.
The small passenger plane, which was carrying 21 passengers, lost contact with air traffic controllers over mountainous terrain.
And officials fear the 18-minute flight may have ended in disaster.
Airport boss Yogendra Kuwar said there were no alternative landing strips between the two airports the plane was flying between – and that it is believed to have crashed.
Helicopters are now scouring the route for traces of the missing plane, but their efforts have been hindered by poor weather conditions.
The plane had taken off from Pokhara, near Kathmandu, and was heading north to Jomsom, a popular starting point for mountain trekkers.
The Twin Otter aircraft was operated by Nepalese carrier Tara Air – whose fleet has fallen victim to a string of similar incidents in the past.
In December 2010, a Tara Air Twin Otter crashed over mountainous terrain en route to Kathmandu – killing all 22 people on board.
And in May of the same year a plane of the same model came within seconds of disaster when its cabin door opened in mid-air.