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Nepal’s Worst Plane Crash of 30 Years

Vaishnavi Peyyety, Current Events Staff Writer


Wreckage from the Nepal's deadly plane crash is examined . (Photo Courtesy SOPA/Getty Images)
JAN.17 - On Jan. 15, nearly 70 people were killed in an airplane that crashed near Pokhara, Nepal, a populous city and entryway to the Himalayas. This aircraft was traveling from Kathmandu to Pokhara, a 129-kilometer trip. This is the country’s most deadly plane crash in over 30 years; this event has deeply affected Nepalese communities, as families grasp the loss of loved ones. Data from the Aviation Safety Network indicates this incident was the third deadliest plane crash in the history of the Himalayan nations. The deadliest crash took place in July of 1992, in a plane operated by Thai Airways, leaving 113 dead. The Nepal Yeti Airlines plane from the recent crash carried 72 people, including four crew members and 68 passengers. Concerted efforts are taking place in search of missing passengers. 57 of the victims were Nepalese while 15 were foreign, including individuals from India, Russia, Korea, Australia, Argentina, France, and Ireland.
"Hundreds of first responders were seen at the landing site in a social media video posted shortly after the incident. "
Around 18 minutes after takeoff, the airplane contacted Pokhara airport and then crashed near the Seti River Gorge. Hundreds of first responders were seen at the landing site in a social media video posted shortly after the incident. The director general of Aviation Safety India, Bijender Siwach, believes that the videos suggest that weather and terrain were not factors, however, only a definitive, formal investigation can reveal if this is true. An investigative committee has begun its search for answers: why did this plane crash and was there any way to prevent it? A report will be available within 45 days, detailing the answers that people are eagerly waiting for. Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the Nepalese Prime Minister, released a statement in which she detailed her sadness about this tragic accident. Jan. 16 was declared a public holiday to commemorate victims. Nepal’s Yeti Airlines also canceled regular flights on this day.
Nepal is no stranger to air accidents as sudden weather changes, difficult terrain, insufficient regulation, and inadequate technical capacity can cause great chaos. In May of 2022, a flight operated by Tara Air that carried 22 people crashed into a Himalayan Mountain, Nepal’s nineteenth plane crash in ten years. In 2022, the United Nations ranked Nepal’s safety protocols at 70 percent. However, it is unclear if this is within the acceptable benchmark, given that crashes have continued to occur. The plane was a French-Italian ATR 72, which is frequently used in Asia and has a good reputation. Nevertheless, ATR planes have been involved in 11 other incidents including crashes in 2014 and 2015. ATR has responded to this by releasing a statement that reads “Our first thoughts are with all the individuals affected by this. ATR specialists are fully engaged to support both the investigation and the customer.”

"In 2022, the United Nations ranked Nepal’s safety protocols at 70 percent. However, it is unclear if this is within the acceptable benchmark, given that crashes have continued to occur."

The sad story of Anju Khatiwada arises from this incident. Khatiwada had vowed to continue her husband’s career as a pilot after he passed away in a 2006 plane crash. She switched from a career in nursing to piloting even though her family was against it. It took years of training and flying to receive the title of captain at Yeti Airlines. Unfortunately, she and many others died in this tragic plane crash.
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