A small passenger plane has crashed in mountainous western Nepal, killing all 23 people on board.

The Twin Otter aircraft, operated by Tara Air, was travelling from Pokhara to Jomsom and lost contact with the control tower shortly after taking off.

Most of those on board were Nepalis. It is not clear what caused the crash.

The plane was carrying three crew and 20 passengers, one of them Chinese and one Kuwaiti. Nepal’s aviation industry has a poor safety record.

Map of Nepal

According to Sanjiv Gautam, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, the plane’s wreckage was found near the village of Dana in Myagdi district.

Earlier he told the BBC Nepali Service the aircraft lost contact with the control tower at Pokhara 10 minutes after take-off.

The identities of those on board have yet to be released. Two of those on board were children.

Three helicopters were sent to search for the missing plane, Tara Air said on its website, adding that “the weather at both origin and destination airports was favourable” for the 20-minute flight.

Nepal’s army said, however, that fog had hampered the search for the aircraft.