The Pokhara plane crash on January 15 of this year was caused by a problem in the plane’s engine, says probe committee.
Nepal witnessed one of its worst planes crashes in 30 years on January 15, 2024, when a flight crashed just before landing in the tourist city of Pokhara.
The ATR-72 aircraft belonging to Nepali airline company, Yeti Airlines, had crashed into a gorge of Nepal’s Seti River earlier this year. This resulted in the death of 72 people onboard the aircraft, including foreign nationals and crew members.
A government-appointed panel was formed to probe into the incident.
The probe committee did an analysis of the cockpit voice recorder and the flight record data. Both showed that the propellers in both engines of the plane had gone into “feather in the base leg of descending”, indicating that the engines had failed towards the end of the flight.
Aviation expert K.B. Limbu said propellers going into “feather” meant there was no thrust in the engine, and that it did not produce any power.
The Plane Crash
The crash site of the plane is about 1.6 km away from the runway of Pokhara International Airport, at an elevation of about 830 meters or 2700 feet.
The ATR-72 twin-engine plane had crashed into a gorge in the Himalayan mountains. When the crash was reported, the cause could not be immediately determined and priority was given to finding the missing and dead passengers and crew members.
The crash was extremely fatal, resulting in the death of 72 people, including 5 Indians and 4 crew members.
A witness of the incident said that he saw from the terrace of his home, the aircraft “spinning violently” in the air when there was an attempt at landing it.
A local resident, Bishnu Tiwari, who rushed to the crash site near the Seti River to help search for bodies, said that the rescue efforts were hampered by thick smoke and a raging fire.
He said that the flames were so hot that nobody could go near the wreckage. He reported hearing a man crying for help, but because of the flames and smoke, the team of rescuers that were with him couldn’t help the man.
During rescue operations, it was found that some bodies were burnt beyond recognition. Officials did their level best to uncover the victims from the rubble and ashes. The prime minister of Nepal visited the grieving families of the victims.
Plane Crashes – Recurrent in Nepal
Nepal averages about 1 crash a year and the Pokhara crash is the most recent one.
The Himalayan destination has witnessed 11 crashes since 2010.
As picturesque as the location is, the terrain of Nepal is extremely difficult to navigate by flight. This is because of its rocky, uneven and treacherous topography.
The country is home to some of the most hard-to-access airstrips. The Tenzing-Hillary Airport is said to be the world’s most dangerous airport. It has only one runway that angles toward a valley below.
Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authorities said in a 2019 report that the region’s diversity of weather patterns and hostile topography are the main challenges surrounding aircraft navigation in Nepal.