Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Nepal plane crash: Pilot didn’t report anything untoward, official says

Pokhara: The pilot of the flight that crashed in Nepal did not report "anything untoward" as the plane approached the airport, a spokesman said.

Anup Joshi said that the "mountains were clear and visibility was good", adding there was a light wind and "no issue with weather".

There were 72 passengers and crew aboard the Yeti Airlines flight from Kathmandu to the tourist town of Pokhara which crashed on Sunday.

No one is believed to have survived.

It is the country's deadliest plane crash in 30 years.

On Monday, fragments of the Yeti Airlines plane were scattered across the riverbank, on both sides, like pieces of a broken toy.

One portion of the aircraft lay on its side, the windows still intact. A few metres away, blue airline seats, now mangled.

The thick stench of smoke hung in the air, the scorched grass on the bank a reminder of the fireball that engulfed the aircraft after it crash landed.

Mobile phone footage showed the plane rolling sharply as it approached the runway. It then hit the ground in the gorge of the Seti River, just over a kilometre from the airport.

The pilot asked for a change from the assigned runway 30 to runway 12, which was granted by the airport, Mr Joshi said.

"We could operate from both runways. The plane was cleared for landing."

It was "very unfortunate" that the incident happened just 15 days after the airport had opened for business, he added.

s members of Nepal's police scoured through the wreckage, they told us they had found the black box flight recorder. The voice recorder has also been recovered.

They have given up hope of finding any survivors. Now the focus was on finding any clues as to how this tragedy happened.

The government has set up a panel to investigate the cause of the disaster and the prime minister declared Monday a national day of mourning.

On both sides of the vast gorge where the plane crashed, hundreds of people who live nearby watched on.

Indra Prasad Saptoka said he saw the plane turn to its side before it crashed. He was thankful it landed away from the houses close by.

Another local resident, Divya Dhakal, told the BBC how she rushed to the crash site after seeing the aircraft plunge from the sky shortly after 11:00 local time (05:15 GMT).

"By the time I was there, the crash site was already crowded. There was huge smoke coming from the flames of the plane. And then helicopters came over in no time," she said.

"The pilot tried his best to not hit civilisation or any home," she added. "There was a small space right beside the Seti River and the flight hit the ground in that small space."

17/01/23 Rajini Vaidyanathan/BBC

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