In an official statement released by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC), the nation has extended its sincere condolences and solidarity with the Nepali government, families of the victims, and the injured of the plane crash.
The UAE government also wished for the speedy recovery of the injured. The GCC countries also expressed their sympathy and solidarity with Nepal on the tragic incident that took place on Sunday. This is the most devastating plane crash recorded in Nepal over the last thirty years.
GCC countries also expressed their sympathy and solidarity with Nepal
The Yeti Airlines flight 691 had been flying from Kathmandu to Pokhara and while approaching the Pokhara airport, the pilot requested a change of runway, and permission was granted. The shocking crash took place moments after this communication with the pilot.
There were a total of 72 people on board with 68 passengers and 4 crew members. According to the latest reports, seventy people are believed to be dead in this horrific crash. Among the passengers, there were fifteen foreign nationals from South Korea, India, Russia, Australia, France, Argentina, and Britain.
The rescue efforts were hampered by bad weather and a deep gorge that was 200 meters deep. The rescue team had to use drones to look into the gorge as the terrain was difficult to traverse. One of the police officials who were part of the rescue efforts said that due to the thick fog that surrounded the accident spot, the rescue team was using ropes to climb down into the gorge where a part of the plane was found in flames.
Hundreds of rescue personnel had taken part in the rescue operations and it was decided to be restarted on Tuesday. Officials who were part of the operations expressed their concern over any survivors and said that the probability is very low considering the nature of the accident. The workers were using cranes to pull the dead bodies out of the gorge.
A viral video showing the last moments before the plane crash has surfaced on the Internet. The video, which appears to be taken from the terrace of a building, shows the aircraft taking a diversion at a very low altitude, and then a loud crash is heard in the background.
Nepal’s topography is notorious for creating bad flying conditions combined with its aggressive weather changes. In a strange coincidence, the pilot, Anju Khatiwada, who flew the crashed Yeti airline had lost her husband who was a co-pilot in a similar crash back in 2006.
She had decided to become a pilot after the death of her husband and used the insurance money to travel to the United States for pilot training. Khatiwada was an experienced pilot with over 6,300 hours of flight time and was working with Yeti since 2010.
The aircraft’s black box was recovered on Monday and it has been handed over to the civil aviation authority. More details will surface once the authorities decode the contents of the black box.
Pokhara, the place where the plane crashed is a famous tourist destination and a gateway to the Himalayas. The renowned Annapurna Circuit trekking route starts from this place and it recorded the visits of over 181,000 foreigners in 2019.
According to a 2019 safety report by Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority, the pilots handling the flights in Nepal have a tough time facing the numerous topographic challenges of the country. The Lukla airport in Nepal is considered to be the most dangerous airport in the world because of its location and weather. Its runway is constructed in between mountains and the end of the runway has a steep drop that has been the site of numerous crashes including the ones in 2008 and 2019.
Another main issue is the replacement of aging aircraft as the airlines don’t have enough investments to buy new ones. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 2015 created an initiative that would assist Nepal through its Aviation Safety Implementation Assistance Partnership.
Two years later, the partnership was formed to solve the various safety concerns in the Nepal Aviation industry. In May 2022, another mishap took place when a Tara Air flight crashed into a mountain and 22 people lost their lives. Back in 2018, US-Bangla Airlines crashed while landing and caught fire killing 51 of the total 71 people on board.
The plane crash on Sunday has been considered as one of the worst tragedies to happen in recent times and the authorities have been in an effort to identify the bodies of the passengers. On Monday, around 41 bodies were identified and efforts were made to intimate the relatives of the deceased. The rescue personnel was finding it difficult to identify the bodies as most of them were burned beyond recognition.
The Nepal government has appointed a five-member committee to investigate the crash and to submit a detailed report within 45 days. Apart from the local investigation, the French Civil Aviation Safety Agency and Russian Investigative Committee have also started their respective investigations into the incident.