All 72 passengers who were the victims of the Yeti plane crash in Pokhara are feared dead. So far sixty-eight bodies have been found, while a search is ongoing for the remaining three. The ill-fated ATR 72-500 plane flying from Kathmandu to Pokhara made unnatural tilts before it crashed into a Seti gorge on Sunday 15 January 2023 a few kilometers apart from its destination, the newly-opened Pokhara International Airport at 10:50 am evolving into the worst aviation disaster in Nepal’s domestic flight history.
The ill-fated plane was registered 9N-ANC. It is considered the safest aircraft in Nepal but it will now be remembered forever for the fatal tragedy.
The ATR 72-500 was a twin-engine turboprop plane with a capacity of 74 passengers.
The pilot demanded runway 12
A few details have surfaced following the disaster. Kamal KC who piloted the tragic plane asked for runway 12 while the Air Traffic Control (ATC) had preferred runway 30. Seconds after receiving the clearance for its desired runway, the plane apparently tilted and came crashing down into the Seti gorge between the old airport in Pokhara and the newly-opened Pokhara International Airport in Ward 15 near the Sitaram Bridge.
The actual cause is not yet identified
Some speculations have been made about the historic tragic aviation disaster. Poor infrastructure, aged out the plane, and an incident with a bird have been blamed as possible reasons. A possible engine failure hasn’t been ruled out too. However, the actual cause behind the crash is not yet identified. However, the pilot KC calling for runway 12 access has been much talked about.
The seasoned pilot with years of experience in his CV changed the plane’s launching pad just 24.5 km away from its landing runway at Pokhara Regional International Airport. The plane was seen taking a turn at a low height from the ground. Many are skeptical about the need for it. The pilot reportedly didn’t complain of any fault in the plane’s system either.
Further, the sky, weather, runway all external factors were in an ideal condition further causing dismay over the possible reason for the deadly crash.
A probe ordered
Soon after the news broke of the plane crash, hon’ble Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ coordinated an emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers (CoM). The meeting formed a five-member committee led by former secretary Nagendra Ghimire to investigate the reasons for the crash.
A National Mourning
A national mourning holiday has been announced for Monday, January 16 following the tragic plane crash in Pokhara. At the same time, Yeti Airlines whose plane crashed suspended all of its scheduled flights for the same day. Condolences have poured in from abroad. Indian PM Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and many others have sent their support to the families and friends of the victims.
The plane had a total of 72 passengers aboard including 15 foreign nationals – 5 Indians, 4 Russians, 2 Koreans, and one from each Australia, Argentina, and France.