Nepal: Officials say all 23 on board crashed plane are dead

Wreckage of aircraft travelling to trekker's paradise has been found

Nepal: Officials say all 23 on board crashed plane are dead

Nepal map via Google images

Updated 11.15

The wreckage of a small plane which went missing while flying in a mountainous area in Nepal has been found.

The plane, with 23 people on board, lost contact minutes after taking off from Pokhara - a resort town west of Kathmandu.

Officials said it was heading north on a short 20-minute flight to Jomsom, the starting point for trekkers going into the mountains.

Rescue helicopters were deployed to search for the Twin Otter aircraft, which is operated by domestic airline Tara Air.

Of the 23 people on board, three were crew members.

The passengers were from Nepal, China and Kuwait. Two of them were children.

It has not yet been confirmed where the wreckage was found.

Earlier, Jomsom's police chief said rescue efforts were focused on the village of Rupshe, where residents reported hearing a large explosion.

Nepal, which is still reeling from last April's devastating earthquake, has suffered a number of air disasters in recent years.

Most have been blamed on inadequate maintenance and inexperienced pilots.