February 3, 2023

Raven Tribune

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The deadly Yeti air crash highlights the dangers of flying in Nepal


A search and rescue operation is underway in Nepal after a Fatal plane crash It once again highlights the dangers of air travel in a country often cited as one of the most dangerous places to fly.

Of the 72 people on board, at least 69 were killed and their bodies recovered after the attack. Yeti Airlines A plane crashed near the city of Pokhara Sunday.

Nepal Army spokesman Krishna Prasad Bhandari said hundreds of emergency personnel were involved on Monday in the search and recovery mission, which has been temporarily suspended and will resume on Tuesday morning.

Kaski District Police Chief Ajay KC said earlier Monday that the chance of finding survivors was “very low” as workers used a crane to pull bodies out of the valley.

The airline said 41 victims had been identified so far. Airline officials and local police said their remains would be handed over to family members.

The autopsy was delayed because a team of forensic experts did not arrive in Pokhara until Monday afternoon local time.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry reports that two South Korean citizens are presumably among those killed in the crash, based on their belongings.

The Nepali authorities said that the bodies, which are assumed to be foreigners, will be transferred to Kathmandu, where they will undergo the necessary inspections and identify their identities.

The accident is the worst weather disaster in the Himalayan country in 30 years. It is also the third worst aviation accident in Nepal’s history, according to data from the Aviation Safety Network.

Experts say conditions such as inclement weather, low visibility, and mountainous terrain all contribute to Nepal’s reputation as dangerous to fly.

The Yeti Airlines flight on Sunday was nearly finished its short journey from the capital, Kathmandu, to Pokhara when it lost contact with a control tower. The country’s civil aviation authority said about 15 foreigners were on board.

The pilot of the downed flight lost her husband — a co-pilot at the same airline — in a similar crash in 2006, according to a Yeti Airlines spokesperson.

Sudarshan Bartola told CNN that Anju Khatiwada decided to become a pilot after the death of her husband, Dipak Pokherle, and used the insurance payments to travel to the United States for her training. She has been with the airline since 2010 and has over 6,300 hours of flying experience.

She was a brave woman with all her courage and determination. “You left us too early,” he said.

Bartola added that Khatiwada was a captain and was traveling with an instructor pilot for additional training at the time of the accident.

Pokhara, a lakeside city, is a popular tourist destination and gateway to the Himalayas. It serves as the starting point for the popular Annapurna Circuit trekking trail, with over 181,000 foreigners visiting the area in 2019.

A government commission is now investigating the cause of the crash with the help of the French authorities. The Yeti Airlines aircraft is manufactured by the airline ATR, which is based in France.

Officials said the plane’s black box, which records flight data, was found on Monday and will be handed over to the Civil Aviation Authority.

The Nepal Civil Aviation Authority said all ATR-42 and ATR-47 aircraft in the country were checked after the Yeti crash and no mechanical problems were found.

Volatile weather patterns are not the only problem for flight operations. according to Safety Report 2019 From the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority, the country’s “hostile terrain” is also part of the “huge challenge” facing pilots.

Nepal, a country of 29 million people, is home to eight of the 14 highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, and its rugged landscapes make it a popular tourist destination for trekkers.

But this terrain can be difficult to navigate from the air, especially during bad weather, and things are made worse by the need to use small planes to get to remote and mountainous parts of the country.

The Civil Aviation Authority report said that aircraft with 19 seats or fewer are more likely to suffer accidents due to these challenges.

Kathmandu is the main transit hub for Nepal, from where many of these small flights depart.

The airport located in the town of Lukla, in northeastern Nepal, is often referred to as The most dangerous airport in the world. The runway, known as Everest Gate, is located on a slope between the mountains, to descend directly into the abyss at the end. It has witnessed many fatal accidents over the years, including in 2008 and 2019.

Underinvestment in older aircraft increases aviation risks.

In 2015, the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency, Prioritize aid for Nepal Through the Aviation Safety Implementation Assistance Partnership. Two years later, the International Civil Aviation Organization and Nepal announced a partnership to resolve safety concerns.

While in recent years the state has made improvements to its safety standards, challenges remain.

In May 2022, Tara Air flight departed from Pokhara I hit a mountainkilling 22 people.

In early 2018, an American Bangladesh Airlines flight from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, to Kathmandu Crashed on landing It caught fire, killing 51 of the 71 people on board.

and in 2016, Flight of Tara has crashed While flying on the same route as the plane that went missing on Sunday. This incident involved a recently acquired Twin Otter flying in clear conditions.

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