Deadly Plane Crash In Nepal Deemed Pilot’s Fault

( – A plane crash in Nepal occurred in January, resulting in the tragic loss of 72 lives, including two Americans and two lawful U.S. permanent residents. The government-appointed investigators, in a report released on Thursday, concluded that the probable cause of the accident was the inadvertent movement of both condition levers to the feathered position by the pilots, leading to an aerodynamic stall and a subsequent crash into a gorge in the Himalayan foothills.

According to the report, the pilots mistakenly positioned the condition levers, responsible for power control, in the feathering position instead of selecting the flap lever. This caused both propellers to feather, resulting in a loss of thrust, aerodynamic stall, and the eventual collision with terrain. The lack of awareness and standard operating procedures, coupled with the pilots’ high workload and stress from operating into a new airport, were identified as contributing factors.

Dipak Prasad Bastola, a member of the investigating panel, highlighted the lack of appropriate technical and skill-based training. The crew also failed to notice indications that both propellers had been feathered. The report emphasized that the aircraft was well-maintained with no known defects, and the cockpit crew had met the qualifications set by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

The aircraft, an ATR 72 with engines manufactured in Canada, belonged to Yeti Airlines. The investigation revealed that the engines were rendered idle, causing the aircraft to fly for up to 49 seconds before the crash. The incident marked Nepal’s deadliest airline disaster in three decades, with no survivors among the 72 passengers, including infants, crew members, and foreign nationals.

The report also mentioned the tragic history of air crashes in Nepal, a country with eight of the world’s highest mountains. Contributing factors included the lack of compliance with standard operating procedures, non-compliance with technical and skill-based training, and the crew’s failure to observe flight deck and engine indications.

Footage from inside the aircraft showed passengers chatting during the descent, while eyewitnesses captured the aggressive descent of the plane’s wing before the impact. The co-pilot, Anju Khatiwada, had undergone extensive pilot training in the United States after her husband’s death in a 2006 plane crash for the same airline. The senior captain, Kamal KC, was in command during the tragic flight.

Nepal, known for its challenging terrain, has witnessed 42 fatal plane crashes since 1946, with the January incident ranking as the worst since 1992. The passenger list included individuals from various nationalities, and the European Union had banned Nepali airlines from its airspace since 2013 due to safety concerns, as reported by Reuters.