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Plane carrying 18 crashes in Nepal

KATMANDU, Nepal — A Nepal Airlines plane flying in bad weather with 18 people on board crashed Sunday into the side of a snow-covered mountain, officials said.

Moving slowly on foot through thick snow, rescuers pulled out 13 bodies from the crash site and were scouring the area for the remains of the others, said police official Bam Bahadur Bhandari.

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Contact was lost with the plane a few minutes after it made an unscheduled fuel stop in the city of Pokhara on its flight from the capital, Katmandu, to the town of Jumla, said Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal official Ram Hari Sharma.

The de Havilland Canada-manufactured Twin Otter plane had 15 passengers and three crew members on board. One of the passengers was believed to be a Danish national, while the rest on board, including a child, were Nepalese, Sharma said.

The plane was 43 years old.

It was snowing this weekend in parts of the mountainous region, and visibility was low because of fog.

Bhandari said the remote area was covered by snow and it took rescuers several hours to reach there by foot from the nearest town 8 miles away.

The plane was scheduled to fly directly from Katmandu to Jumla, about 250 miles to the west, but stopped to refuel at Pokhara’s airport about a third of the way into the journey.

In May, another plane of the same make and model operated by state-owned Nepal Airlines crashed while attempting to land at a mountain airstrip in northern Nepal, injuring all 21 people on board.

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