A fatal plane crash occurred today near Pokhara airport in Nepal.
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Yeti Airlines Flight Crashes In Nepal
According to Reuters, at least 44 were killed in the tragic crash and others have been left in critical conditions. A Yeti Airlines was carrying 72 passengers and crew members on a domestic service from Kathmandu to the popular tourist destination of Pokhara when the crash happened.
According to local reports, the plane crashed on landing and caught fire. Videos posted on social media show the aircraft flying low over a populated area before spinning sharply and crashing. The death toll is currently reported as high as 62, with at least 29 bodies recovered so far. However, several critically injured passengers were also reported to have survived and were rushed to the hospital.
(Warning: graphic content)
The flight set out with 68 passengers on board, including at least 15 foreign nationals, and four crew members. 53 of those on board were Nepalese. There were also five Indians, four Russians, two Koreans, one passenger each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France according to the BBC.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has called an emergency meeting of his cabinet and urged state agencies to work on rescue operations. A panel to investigate the cause of the crash has been set up, and it is expected to report within 45 days according to the finance minister, Bishnu Paudel.
Nepal Aviation Safety Culture
While aviation around the world is extremely safe, accidents are less uncommon in developing and remote countries. With 8 of the world’s 14 highest mountains including Everest and frequent sudden weather changes, flying in Nepal is particularly hazardous. In May 2022, a Tara Air plane crashed in the northern Nepalese district of Mustang, killing 22 people. In early 2018, 51 people were killed when another flight from Dhaka in Bangladesh caught fire as it landed in Kathmandu.
At least 309 people have died in plane or helicopter accidents since 2000 according to Reuters. The European Union has banned Nepali airlines from its airspace since 2013, citing safety concerns. Nepalese airlines are also not allowed to fly into the United States.
Aviation accidents are extremely unlikely but each tragic incident is a reminder of the importance of a strong safety carrier. In the wake of this tragedy, our thoughts go to all of the victims and their loved ones. Hopefully, the investigation will provide answers as to what exactly took place and provides a roadmap for Nepal to improve its aviations safety culture.