January 28, 2023

The search for missing persons resumes as the Yeti Airlines disaster highlights the dangers of flying in Nepal



CNN

Hundreds of emergency personnel on Monday resumed their search and recovery mission in Nepal after a Fatal plane crash It once again highlights the dangers of air travel in a country often cited as one of the most dangerous places to fly.

Of the 72 people on board, at least 68 were killed when A.J Yeti Airlines A plane crashed near the city of Pokhara Sunday.

Four others are still missing, but Kaski District Police Chief Ajay Kay Sy said Monday the chance of finding survivors was “extremely low” as workers used a crane to pull the bodies out of the valley.

The accident is the worst weather disaster in the Himalayan country in 30 years. It is also the third worst aviation accident in Nepal’s history, according to data from the Aviation Safety Network.

Experts say conditions such as inclement weather, low visibility, and mountainous terrain all contribute to Nepal’s reputation as dangerous to fly.

The Yeti Airlines flight on Sunday was nearly finished its short journey from the capital, Kathmandu, to Pokhara when it lost contact with a control tower. The country’s civil aviation authority said about 15 foreigners were on board.

Pokhara, a lakeside city, is a popular tourist destination and gateway to the Himalayas. It serves as the starting point for the popular Annapurna Circuit trekking trail, with over 181,000 foreigners visiting the area in 2019.

A government commission is now investigating the cause of the crash with the help of the French authorities. The Yeti Airlines aircraft is manufactured by the airline ATR, which is based in France.

Officials said the plane’s black box, which records flight data, was found on Monday and will be handed over to the Civil Aviation Authority.

Volatile weather patterns are not the only problem for flight operations. according to Safety Report 2019 From the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority, the country’s “hostile terrain” is also part of the “huge challenge” facing pilots.

Nepal, a country of 29 million people, is home to eight of the 14 highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, and its rugged landscapes make it a popular tourist destination for trekkers.

But this terrain can be difficult to navigate from the air, especially during bad weather, and things are made worse by the need to use small planes to get to remote and mountainous parts of the country.

The Civil Aviation Authority report said that aircraft with 19 seats or fewer are more likely to suffer accidents due to these challenges.

Kathmandu is the main transit hub for Nepal, from where many of these small flights depart.

The airport located in the town of Lukla, in northeastern Nepal, is often referred to as an airport The most dangerous airport in the world. The runway, known as Everest Gate, is located on a slope between the mountains, to descend directly into the abyss at the end. It has witnessed many fatal accidents over the years, including in 2008 and 2019.

Underinvestment in older aircraft increases aviation risks.

In 2015, the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency, Prioritize aid for Nepal Through the Aviation Safety Implementation Assistance Partnership. Two years later, the International Civil Aviation Organization and Nepal announced a partnership to resolve safety concerns.

While in recent years the state has made improvements to its safety standards, challenges remain.

In May 2022, Tara Air flight departed from Pokhara I hit a mountainkilling 22 people.

In early 2018, an American-Bangla Airlines flight from the Bengali capital, Dhaka, to Kathmandu Crashed on landing It caught fire, killing 51 of the 71 people on board.

and in 2016, Flight of Tara has crashed While flying on the same route as the plane that went missing on Sunday. This incident involved a recently acquired Twin Otter flying in clear conditions.