A flight from Bangladesh that was carrying 67 passengers crashed at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu Monday, the latest in a long list of aviation tragedies in Nepal.
New Delhi: There have been more than 25 air accidents in Nepal since 2000, which has 44 airstrips across the nation. Of these accidents, 16 involved fatalities.
Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal’s only international airport, has seen at least 15 serious accidents since 1970. On 4 March 2015, a Turkish Airline aircraft skidded off the runway after attempting to land in dense fog, which resulted in the nose wheel collapsing. All 227 passengers and 11 crew members on board were evacuated safely, but the airport had to be shut for four days while the damaged aircraft was removed.
In September 2011, a Buddha Air flight crashed while approaching the airport, killing everyone on board. In September 2012, a flight that had taken off from the airport crashed soon after after it hit a vulture. All 16 passengers, and three crew members, were killed in the accident.
Nepal is also said to have the most dangerous airport in the world named the Tenzing Hillary airport. The airport has seen at least six air accidents since 1970. Situated in the small town of Lukla in Eastern Nepal, it is the gateway to Mount Everest. But coupled with the erratic weather conditions in the region and snow capped peaks, every landing and take off at the airport is a challenge.
The airport’s 500 meter-long runway is on a ridge that ends in a mountain wall with an uphill gradient of 12 per cent. In October 2010, a Sita Air Dornier lost braking control and stuck this wall during landing. However, all passengers and crew survived. In October 2008, Yeti Airlines Flight 103, a DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 crashed due to bad weather conditions and caught fire during its last approach to land at the airport. Only the captain of the aircraft survived and 18 passengers died.
There’s also the Jomsom airport located in the district of Mustang, which makes landing and taking off difficult due to bad weather, high winds and obstacles. Located on the banks of Kali Gandaki River and surrounded by mountains, even short distance flights between Jomsom and Pokhara are challenging. Bad weather causes visibility to be inadequate 85 per cent of the time and the high winds prevent flights after mid-day. Most flights to and from the airport are scheduled in the morning and are made to turn around if the wind speed picks up.
The airport in the resort town of Pokhara offers connections between Kathmandu and Jomsom, and has seen multiple air accidents as well. On 16 Feburary 2014, a plane with 18 passengers flying from Pokhara to Jumla crashed soon after taking off due to bad weather, killing everyone on board . On 24 Feburary 2016, a domestic passenger aircraft to Jomsom went missing and was found to have crashed killing all 23 people on board.
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