March 23, 2023

An accident every year: 11 plane crashes have happened since 2010, know why Nepal’s sky is the era of planes?

3 min read

Kathmandu: A passenger plane of Yeti Airlines with 72 people, including 5 Indians, crashed some 10 seconds before landing at Pokhara Airport in Nepal. This is the deadliest plane crash in the Himalayan country in the last 30 years. So far 60 deaths have been confirmed in the accident. According to the officials, there is little hope of survival of any passenger in this plane crash. On an average, there is about one plane crash in Nepal every year. The country has seen at least 11 fatal plane crashes since 2010, including the latest one. Prior to the Yeti Airlines plane crash, on May 29 last year in Nepal, a Tara Air plane crashed in Mustang district, killing all 22 people on board.

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According to information shared by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the ATR-72 aircraft of Yeti Airlines crashed into the Seti river gorge between the old and new airport in Pokhara after taking off from Kathmandu. A total of 72 people were on board the plane with 14 foreign nationals and 4 crew members. 2 videos of the plane are viral in social media. In a video, the plane is seen diving in the air a few seconds before crashing. The second video was recorded by a passenger sitting inside the plane on his mobile phone. It can be seen in this that he is showing the clouds from inside the plane, only then the flames are visible and darkness prevails. There are narrow valleys between many high peaks, where sometimes there is a lot of difficulty in turning the planes.

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Let us understand why it is so risky to fly a plane in the sky of Nepal?
Nepal – a small country situated in the lap of the Himalayas, boasting of enchanting natural beauty. Its topography, low visibility and ever-changing weather make it one of the most difficult areas in the world to fly an aeroplane. There are many hard-to-access air strips in the country. Mountains are made by cutting them. The runways on such airstrips are short, there is not enough space. According to a Bloomberg report, Tenzing-Hillary Airport in the northeast of Lukla is one of the most dangerous airports in the world. There is only one runway here, whose slope is towards the valley.

According to an air safety report released in 2019 by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, ‘The country’s diversity of weather patterns and hostile topography are the main challenges to aircraft operations in Nepal, due to which the number of accidents involving small aircraft … is comparatively high. ‘ Due to being a mountainous country, the weather in Nepal changes very fast. Sometimes the sky is clear, then suddenly it gets foggy. In such a situation, there is a difficult challenge in front of the pilot of the aircraft to make a safe landing on the high altitude air strips. Sometimes air strips are not visible due to fog, such a situation invites accidents. But the Yeti Airlines plane crash was not caused by bad weather, as officials said the sky was clear at the time of the crash.

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Yeti Airlines plane was 15 years old
Meanwhile, flight tracking website FlightRadar24 mentioned in a tweet that the Yeti Airlines plane was 15 years old and was equipped with old transponders with unreliable data. One of the reasons behind excessive plane accidents in Nepal is the compromise of safety standards there. According to a report, instead of buying new planes, Nepal’s airlines buy their old planes cheaply from airlines of other countries, then put them into service after getting them repaired and dent-painted. Lack of advanced radar technology is also a major reason for accidents. The old planes of Nepal do not even have weather radars with modern technology. Because of this, the pilot does not even get the correct information about the weather.

Tags: aviation news, Nepal, Plane crash

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