The spokesman said there were 19 passengers and three crew members on board. The plane was on its way from Pokhara to Jomsom, a popular tourist town in central Nepal.
Nepal’s Home Ministry said two German nationals, four Indians and 13 Nepalese were among the 22 missing. The nationalities of the two passengers are unknown.
Pokhara is located 80 miles west of the capital, Kathmandu.
An airline official told Reuters, asking not to be named, that the plane lost contact with the control tower five minutes before landing at Jomsom, a popular tourist and pilgrimage site. Tara Air primarily operates Twin Otter turboprop aircraft. Flight tracker Flightradar24 said the missing plane made its maiden flight in April 1979.
The spokesman added that the Nepalese army has been recruited to assist in the search for the missing plane.
Officials told Reuters the cloudy weather was preventing search helicopters from flying to the area of the last known flight site. The country’s meteorological office said there had been a thick cover of clouds in Pokhara Jomsun district since morning. A search helicopter was forced back to Jomsom due to bad weather.
“Helicopters are ready to take off for search from Kathmandu, Pokhara and Jomsom as soon as the weather improves. Army and police search teams have left for the site,” the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement.
Police official Prem Kumar Dhani said a ground-based search and rescue team was sent to the area near Mount Dhaulagiri, the world’s seventh highest peak at 26,795 feet (8,167 metres).
Nepal, home to eight of the 14 highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, has a record of air accidents. Its weather can change suddenly and the airstrips are usually in mountainous locations that are difficult to reach.
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