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Plane with 18 people missing in Nepal

A Nepal Airlines plane with 18 people on board flying in bad weather was missing Sunday and feared to have crashed in Nepal's mountainous west, officials said.

The plane left Sunday from the resort town of Pokhara after making an unscheduled fuel stop, but contact was lost a few minutes later, said Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal official Ram Hari Sharma.

Another aviation official, Dharmendra Pandey, said villagers in Argakhachi district reported that the plane had crashed in a remote mountain area. He said police were trying to reach the area.

The Twin Otter plane had 15 passengers and three crew members on board and was heading toward the town of Jumla, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) west of the capital, Kathmandu.

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

A rescue helicopter was trying to reach the area where contact with the plane was lost, but the weather conditions were making it difficult.

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