Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Nepal plane crash: Career and tragedy follow same path

Anju Khatiwada, co-pilot of the crashed Yeti Airlines aircraft, had learnt to fly after her husband was killed while flying a small passenger plane of the same domestic airline in 2006.

Nearly 16 years later, the ATR-72 aircraft co-piloted by Anju crashed on the gorge of the Seti river near Pokhara’s new airport on Sunday. She is believed to be among the dead.

When Anju married Deepak Pokharel, he flew Nepal Army helicopters. A few years later, Deepak, who had by then joined Yeti Airlines, died in a Twin-Otter crash in Jumla district.

After Deepak’s death, Anju’s father wanted to send her to India to study but she did not agree. Grieving the loss of her husband, she decided to become a pilot herself. She used the insurance money from Deepak’s death to do a pilot’s course in the US, according to Sudarsan Bartaula, Yeti Airlines spokesperson.

Anju joined Yeti Airlines in 2010 and became a captain. According to airline sources, Anju had completed 6,396 hours of flying between Kathmandu, Bhadrapur, Biratnagar, Dhangadhi and other places.

Deepak’s Yeti Airlines plane had in 2006 crashed in remote mountains, killing all nine on board — six passengers, two pilots and a flight attendant. According to Nepal’s civil aviation body, 914 people have died in air crashes in the country since August 1955. Sunday’s crash was the 104th in Nepal and the third biggest in terms of casualties.

17/01/23 PTI/Telegraph

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