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The reasons why Nepal, a sought-after tourist destination, is one of the countries with the most air accidents


Fickle weather patterns, "hostile topography" and a fleet of aging aircraft are part of the great challenge pilots face when flying in the Asian country, where an aircraft crashed on Sunday, killing at least 68 people.

At least 68 people died in Nepal after a passenger plane covering a regional route crashed Sunday into a gorge with 72 passengers on board as it approached a newly opened airport in the resort town of Pokhara, authorities confirmed. .

The Civil Aviation Authority announced the preliminary death toll on Twitter as rescue workers continued to search the crash site, near the Seti River, about 1.6 kilometers (one mile) from Pokhara International Airport.

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic accident of Yeti Airlines ANC ATR 72, which was flying with passengers from Kathmandu to Pokhara,” Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal tweeted.

"I sincerely call on security personnel, all Nepal government agencies and the general public to carry out an effective rescue."

The incident is

the worst of its kind in Nepal in more than 30 years

: in 1992 the Asian country suffered two fatal plane crashes, with a total of 113 and 167 deaths.

Both flights were operated by international airlines from Thailand and Pakistan.

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Since 2000, almost 350 people have been killed in plane or helicopter crashes in Nepal, according to official data.

And the European Commission's aviation safety list

prohibits all Nepali airlines from operating in Europe, citing security reasons.

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Fickle weather patterns are a problem for flight operations in that country.

According to a 2019 safety report from the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority, the country's "hostile topography" is also part of the "enormous challenge" pilots face.

A popular tourist destination with aviation safety problems

A country of 29 million people, Nepal is home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, including Everest, and its ruggedly beautiful landscapes make it a popular tourist destination for trekkers.

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

Aircraft with 19 seats or fewer are more likely to have accidents due to these challenges, according to the Civil Aviation Authority report.

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The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, is the country's main transit hub, from where many of these small planes depart.

The most dangerous airport in the world

The airport in the city of Lukla, in northeastern Nepal, is described by many

as the most dangerous airport in the world


Known as the gateway to Everest, the airport's runway sits on a cliff between mountains, plunging straight into an abyss at the end.

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In addition to topographical and climatic reasons, the lack of investment to renew aircraft fleets increases flight risks.

In 2015, the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency, made it a priority to help Nepal through its Aviation Safety Implementation Assistance Association.

Two years later, the organization and the Government of Nepal announced a partnership to resolve security issues.

While the country has made improvements to safety standards in recent years, many challenges remain.

In 2016, a Tara Air flight crashed while flying the same route as the plane that crashed on Sunday.

That incident involved a recently purchased Twin Otter aircraft that was flying in clear conditions.

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In early 2018, a US-Bangla Airlines flight from Dhaka to Kathmandu crashed on landing and caught fire, killing 51 of 71 people on board.

And in May 2022, a Tara Air flight with 22 people on board crashed into a mountain at an altitude of about 14,500 feet.

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The ATR 72 aircraft, a problematic model

Pokhara is the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, a popular trekking route in the Himalayas.

The city's new international airport began operations just two weeks ago.

The plane in Sunday's crash was an ATR 72, a model that has been used by airlines around the world for short regional flights.

Launched in the late 1980s by a French and Italian partnership, the model has been involved in several fatal accidents over the years.

Groups of people surrounded the area of ​​the plane crash in Pokhara, Nepal, on January 15, 2023. Krishna Mani Baral / AP

In Taiwan, two previous accidents involving ATR 72-500 and ATR 72-600 aircraft occurred just months apart.

In July 2014, a TransAsia ATR 72-500 flight crashed while trying to land in the picturesque Penghu archipelago between Taiwan and China, killing 48 people on board.

An ATR 72-600 operated by the same Taiwanese airline crashed shortly after takeoff in Taipei in February 2015, after one of its engines failed and the second shut down, apparently by mistake.

The 2015 crash, captured in

dramatic footage showing the plane crashing into a taxi

as it spun out of control, killed 43 people and prompted authorities to ground all Taiwan-registered ATR 72s for some time.

TransAsia ceased all flights in 2016 and then shut down.

According to plane tracking data from, the plane that crashed on Sunday was 15 years old and "equipped with an old transponder with unreliable data."

It previously flew on India's Kingfisher Airlines and Thailand's Nok Air before Yeti took over in 2019, according to records.

Yeti Airlines has a fleet of six ATR72-500 aircraft, according to company spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula.

With information from






Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-01-16

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