Nepali rescuers called off their hunt for a missing passenger plane with 22 people on board late Sunday, planning to resume search operations at first light. The Tara Air plane had taken off from the western town of Pokhara on Sunday morning but lost control with air traffic after 15 minutes, the airline said. Nepal’s air industry has boomed sin recent years, carrying goods and people between hard-to-reach areas as well as foreign trekkers and climbers, but it has a poor safety record. Rescuers unsuccessfully scoured a remote mountainous area in western Nepal by helicopter and on foot all day Sunday, as weather hampered search flights. Nepal Army official Baburam Shrestha told AFP that ground troops would stop at a local school for the night and be joined by additional forces in the morning. “We will also resume the search operation from our helicopter tomorrow (Monday) morning once the weather is clear,” he said. Dev Raj Subedi, a spokesman for Pokhara Airport, told AFP that three helicopters had had to turn back. “Right now we cannot say where exactly where the aircraft is and in what condition,” he said. “There has not been any reporting or information from locals about a big fire or any other such indications.” There were 19 passengers and three crew members on board the missing plane, which left for the town of Jomson at 9:55 am (0410 GMT), airline spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula told AFP. The passengers included two Germans and four Indians, with the remainder Nepali. Relatives of those on board gathered outside Pokhara airport, consoling each other as they wept and waited for news. The Twin Otter aircraft’s last known location was in an area around Ghorepani, a village at 2,874 metres (9,429 feet) above sea level, according to the aviation authority. Jomsom is a popular trekking destination in the Himalayas about 20 minutes by plane from Pokhara, which lies 200 kilometres (120 miles) west of the capital Kathmandu.