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Plane wreckage, no survivors, found in Nepal

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Rescuers in Nepal on Monday found the wreckage of a passenger plane that crashed into the side of a snow-covered mountain and burst into flames, killing all 18 people on board, including a small child, authorities said.

Moving slowly on foot through thick snow, rescuers pulled out 17 bodies from the crash site, said police official Bam Bahadur Bhandari.

A helicopter was able to spot the wreckage on a mountainside near Machinelek, about 250 kilometers (160 miles) west of the capital, Katmandu, a day after the Nepal Airlines Twin Otter lost contact in bad weather.

The plane was flying from Katmandu to Jumla, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) to the west, when it made an unscheduled fuel stop in the city of Pokhara, about a third of the way into the journey. Visibility was poor because of the snow, rain and fog, Bhandari said.

Bhandari said the remote area was covered by snow and it took rescuers several hours to reach there by foot from the nearest town 13 kilometers (8 miles) away.

Police and soldiers were trying to dig a temporary helipad for rescue helicopters to land.

The de Havilland Canada-manufactured aircraft 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 an infant, were Nepalese. The plane was 43 years old.

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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