Monday, January 16, 2023

Both "black boxes" found from plane that crashed in deep gorge in Nepal, killing scores

Pokhara: A spokesman for Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority says a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder have been retrieved from the site of the crash of a passenger plane that went down on approach to a newly opened airport in the tourist town of Pokhara.

Jagannath Niraula said the boxes were found on Monday, a day after the ATR-72 aircraft crashed, killing at least 69 of the 72 people aboard. He said they will be handed over to investigators.

Pemba Sherpa, spokesperson for Yeti Airlines, also confirmed that both the flight data and the cockpit voice recorders have been found.

The recorders are commonly referred to as "black boxes" even though they're not usually black.  

Rescuers rappelled down to search through debris, which is scattered down a 984-foot gorge, for the three missing people. All are believed to be dead. A senior local official, Tek Bahadur KC, told Agence France-Presse, "We pray for a miracle. But, the hope of finding anyone alive is nil."

Nepal began a national day of mourning Monday.

It remains unclear what caused the crash, the Himalayan country's deadliest airplane accident in three decades. The weather was mild and wasn't windy on the day of the crash.

A witness who recorded footage of the plane's descent from his balcony said he saw the plane flying low before it suddenly veered to its left. "I saw that and I was shocked. ... I thought that today everything will be finished here after it crashes, I will also be dead," said Diwas Bohora. After it crashed, red flames erupted and the ground shook violently, like an earthquake, Bohora said. "I was scared. Seeing that scene, I was scared."

Amit Singh, an experienced pilot and founder of India's Flight Safety Foundation, said the video appears to show a stall, a situation in which a plane loses lift, especially likely at low airspeeds.

16/01/23 AP/CBS News

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