KATHMANDU: The bodies of all 22 people, including 19 passengers and three crew members, who were on board a plane that crashed into a Himalayan mountainside in Nepal two days ago have been recovered, an official said on Tuesday.
Two Germans, four Indians and 16 Nepalis were on the De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter aircraft which crashed 15 minutes after taking off from the tourist town of Pokhara, 125 km (80 miles) west of Kathmandu, on Sunday morning.
The plane was bound for Jomsom, a popular tourist and pilgrimage site, 80 km (50 miles) northwest of Pokhara, on what should have been a 20-minute flight.
"Rescuers have recovered all 22 bodies from the crash site," Deo Chandra Lal Karna, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) told Reuters.
Nepali soldiers and rescue workers had retrieved 21 bodies from the wreckage, strewn across a steep slope at an altitude of around 14,500 feet on Monday. They recovered the last body on Tuesday morning, Karna said.
Bodies of 10 victims were brought to Kathmandu on Monday, and the remaining 12 bodies would be flown into the capital on Tuesday, the CAAN official said.
"The bodies will be sent to the (Tribhuvan University) Teaching Hospital for post mortem ... and will be handed over to the families after identification," Karna said. The names of the victims were released on Sunday.
The Nepali government has set up a five-member panel to determine the cause of the crash and suggest preventative measures for the aviation sector.
Nepal, home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, including Everest, has a history of air accidents.
In early 2018, a US-Bangla Airlines flight from Dhaka to Kathmandu crashed on landing and caught fire, killing 51 of the 71 people on board.
In 1992, all 167 people aboard a Pakistan International Airlines plane were killed when it ploughed into a hill as it tried to land in Kathmandu.
(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)