Pokhara air crash: Lack of navigation system at the Pokhara airport could be a “contributory cause”

An ATR 72 aircraft of Yeti Airlines that flew to Pokhara from Kathmandu had crashed in Pokhara of Kaski district in January 15 on Sunday morning, making it the deadliest plane crash in Nepal in three decades.

The plane crashed in the Seti River gorge, killing 71 out of 72 people including the crew members on the plane.

The body of one more person on the plane is yet to be found.

Fifteen of the passengers were foreign nationals, while 53 were Nepali nationals, including three infants.

An emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers held on January 15 afternoon formed a 5-member commission under the coordination of former secretary Nagendra Ghimire to identify the cause of the accident and prevent such accidents from happening in the future. The commission has been given 45 days’ deadline.

A nine-member team of experts from the ATR aircraft manufacturer company in France also arrived Nepal on Januray 17 to carry out a on-site study about the plane crash.

The search and rescue teams had found the black box of an aircraft on January 16 in Monday morning.

The nine-member experts team from the ATR aircraft manufacturer company will return to France soon along with the black box for an independent analysis of the accident. The team have already conducted on-site monitoring of the accident site, collected necessary documents and discussed with experts.

The work of writing the report is going on secretly by both French and the Nepali team.

The Nepali team have took some remains and the French team took the black box from the site.

The aviation authority said the aircraft last made contact with the airport from near Seti Gorge at 10:50 a.m. before crashing. However, according to a source, Pokhara ATC is lying to former secretary Nagendra Ghimire’s team. They are claiming that the crew of the crashed plane has not been in contact with the ATC for 10 minutes ago.

A mobile videos went viral immediately after the crash which showed the aircraft banking sharply left, and then falling after a stall. The crash site, at a height of 2,700ft (820 metres), is only a mile from the runway.

The airport has not this navigation system in place since it started operations on January 1, 2023, and it will not have one until February 26, , Jagannath Niroula, a spokesperson for Nepal’s civil aviation authority said.

The reason for the Yeti Airlines crash has not yet been determined. However, it is said that the airport not being properly equipped could have been a “contributory cause” of the crash.

According to an official at the Pokhara International Airport, the ATC cleared the Yeti Airlines flight captain to land on runway 30, but he had requested for runway 12.

Similarly, it is also necessary to determine whether the crashed aircraft followed the flight path procedure of the airport or not. it is also said that there may be error in the flight path of the recently inaguarated Pokhara International Airport.

 

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