Yeti Airlines ATR-72 crashes in Nepal’s Pokhara; all the lives lost

A 72-seat passenger ATR-72 aircraft belonging to Yeti Airlines tragically crashed upon landing at Pokhara International Airport in Nepal’s Kaski district on Sunday, January 15. The aircraft was 15 years old. It was Nepal’s worst crash in nearly five years.

At least 67 people are confirmed dead after a plane carrying 72 people crashed in Nepal on Sunday, police said. “Thirty-one (bodies) have been taken to hospitals,” police official AK Chhetri told AFP, adding that 36 other bodies were found in the gorge where the aircraft crashed. 

There were 5 Indians apart from 4 Russians, 1 Irish and 2 South Korean nationals among the passengers. The Indian nationals have been identified as Abhisekh Kushwaha, Bishal Sharma, Anil Kumar Rajbhar, Sonu Jaiswal and Sanjaya Jaiswal, a Yeti Airlines official said.

Yeti Airlines ATR-72 crashes in Nepal’s Pokhara; all the lives lost

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), Yeti Airlines’ 9N-ANC ATR-72 aircraft took off from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport at 10.33 am and crashed at the Pokhara airport at around 11 am. Emergency rescue operations are currently being conducted at the airport. A total of 72 people – 68 passengers and 4 crew members – were on board the ill-fated flight, as confirmed by a spokesperson for Yeti Airlines.

The Yeti Airlines flight 9N-ANC ATR-72 was on its third sortie since Sunday morning. It first flew from Kathmandu to Pokhara and back to Kathmandu earlier in the day. The Yeti Airlines aircraft took off from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport at 10:33 am. While landing at the Pokhara airport, the plane crashed on the bank of the Seti River between the old airport and the new airport.

Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 said the Yeti Airlines aircraft was 15 years old and equipped with an old transponder with unreliable data. Yeti Airlines has a fleet of six ATR72-500 planes, according to its website. Yeti describes itself on its website as a leading domestic carrier of Nepal.

Images and videos of the crash posted on social media showed smoke billowing from the site.

Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal called an emergency cabinet meeting following the crash and directed effective rescue operations. The Nepal government has also formed a five-member commission of inquiry to probe the plane crash. The Nepal government has also formed a five-member commission of inquiry to probe the plane crash.

Images and videos of the crash posted on social media showed smoke billowing from the site. As per reports, the airport was closed temporarily owing to the incident. Pokhara, in central Nepal, is a lakeside tourist mecca below the Annapurna mountain range.

The passenger plane reportedly crashed just ten seconds before landing. According to the Air Traffic Control (ATC) staff, the runway of Pokhara is built in the east-west direction. Initially, the pilot asked for a landing in the east and permission was granted. However, later on, the pilot asked for permission to land in the west direction and was given permission again. But the plane crashed ten seconds before landing.

The new airport, Nepal’s third international airport, built with Chinese assistance, was inaugurated only days ago, on January 1, 2023.

It was a clear day in the Pokhara valley and weather conditions were not all adverse. The crashed aircraft was an ATR-72, an aviation workhorse in the mountainous region. The cause of the crash will only be known after data from the blackbox is analysed. The new airport, Nepal’s third international airport, built with Chinese assistance, was inaugurated only days ago, on January 1, 2023. Rescue operations are underway and the airport has been closed for the time being.

The weather was clear, said Jagannath Niroula, Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority spokesman. “Thirty bodies have been recovered and sent to hospital,” Niroula said, as reported by Reuters. “Another 14 bodies are still lying at the crash site and authorities are bringing in a crane to move them,” he said.

The Himalayan country of Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest, has a record of air accidents. Its weather can change suddenly and airstrips are typically sited in difficult-to-reach mountainous areas.

ALSO READ – Nepal’s Tara Air crash – 14 bodies recovered, the reason for the crash unknown

Last May, a Tara Air flight carrying 22 people crashed into a Himalayan mountain at an altitude of about 14,500 feet.

Last May, a Tara Air flight carrying 22 people crashed into a Himalayan mountain at an altitude of about 14,500 feet. That was the country’s 19th plane crash in 10 years and its 10th fatal one during the same period, according to the Aviation Safety Network database.

In 2016, all 23 people aboard were killed when a plane of the same airline flying the same route crashed after takeoff. In March 2018, a US-Bangla Air crash occurred at the Tribhuvan International Airport, killing 51 people on board.

A Sita Air flight crashed in September 2012 while making an emergency landing at the Tribhuvan International Airport, killing 19 people. A plane flying from Pokhara to Jomsom crashed near Jomsom airport on May 14, 2012, killing 15 people.

Nepal’s air industry has boomed in recent years, carrying goods and people between hard-to-reach areas and foreign trekkers and climbers. But it has been plagued by poor safety due to insufficient training and maintenance. The European Union has banned all Nepali carriers from its airspace over safety concerns since 2013.

Responses

Feed
Jobs
News
Magazine