January 28, 2023
Yeti Airlines aircraft ATR 72 in Kathmandu-Tribhuvan International airport © jetphotos.com

72 killed in Nepal Crash

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Nepal suffers worst air disaster in decades black boxes discovered as recovery and search for four continued Monday

Searchers on Monday found both the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder from a passenger flight that crashed on Sunday, killing at least 68 people in Nepal’s deadliest plane crash in 30 years, officials said.

The data on the recorders may help investigators determine what caused the ATR 72 aircraft, carrying 72 people, to crash in clear weather just before landing in the tourist city of Pokhara.

Both recorders were in good shape and would be sent for analysis based on the recommendation of the manufacturer, Teknath Sitaula, an official at the Kathmandu airport, told reporters on Monday.

Rescuers were battling cloudy weather and poor visibility as they scoured the river gorge for passengers who are unaccounted for, more than 24 hours after the crash. Sixty-eight bodies have been recovered. The plane, on a scheduled flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, gateway to the scenic Annapurna mountain range, was carrying 57 Nepalis, five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one person each from Argentina, Ireland, Australia and France.

The journey to Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest city tucked under the picturesque Annapurna mountain range, from the capital Kathmandu is one of the country’s most popular tourist routes, with many preferring a short flight instead of a six-hour-long drive through hilly roads.

Pokhara police official Ajay K.C. said the search-and-rescue operation, which stopped because of darkness on Sunday, had resumed. “

We will take out the five bodies from the gorge and search for the remaining four that are still missing,” he said at a press briefing “It is cloudy now… causing a problem in the search.”

It was Nepal’s deadliest air crash since 1992, the Aviation Safety Network database showed, when a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A300 crashed into a hillside upon approach to Kathmandu, killing all 167 people on board.

The ATR72 of European planemaker ATR is a widely used twin engine turboprop plane manufactured by a joint venture of Airbus  and Italy’s Leonardo. Yeti Airlines has a fleet of six ATR72-500 planes, according to its website.

Nearly 350 people have died since 2000 in plane or helicopter crashes in Nepal – home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest – where sudden weather changes can make for hazardous conditions.

India’s aviation regulator said it would take all measures to ensure safe aviation in the country’s airspace.

Nepal has declared a day of national mourning on Monday and set up a panel to investigate the disaster and suggest measures to avoid such incidents in future.

Source Reuters/RT

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