Aananda Prasad Pokharel said the Twin Otter turboprop aircraft had been found in the western district of Myagdi and bodies could be seen scattered around it.
“The wreckage of the plane was found in a completely burnt state in Solighopte in Myagdi district,” said Pokharel, minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation.
“The team there say that the bodies are scattered and it is not possible to identify anyone right now. More security agencies are being deployed and we are trying to get more information.”
The army had deployed helicopters and foot soldiers to search Myagdi, a mountainous district around 160 miles (220km) west of Kathmandu, after locals reported seeing possible wreckage of the Tara Air plane.
The airline said the plane was carrying three crew and 20 passengers, one a Chinese and one a Kuwaiti national, revising an earlier figure of 18 passengers.
All the others were from Nepal and two of them were children.
The plane lost contact with air traffic control eight minutes after it left the western town of Pokhara on its way to Jomsom on Wednesday morning.
The police chief at Jomsom, Harihari Yogi, said they had reports from local villagers of hearing a loud explosion near the small village of Rupshe and attempts were being made to reach it.
Jomsom, in the Himalayas, is about 20 minutes’ flight from Pokhara. It is popular for both foreign tourists visiting the Mount Annapurna and Mustang region for trekking, and for Hindu pilgrims visiting the Muktinath temple. (Courtesy The Guardian)