The US State Department has confirmed that two US citizens and two legal permanent residents were among the 72 who died in the Nepal plane crash.
Initially, no Americans were mentioned on the Yeti flight on Sunday, but the State Department confirmed the news on Wednesday. His identities have not been revealed.
“We are deeply saddened to hear about the tragic Yeti Airlines crash over the weekend, which killed 72 people, including two US citizens and two legal permanent residents,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
“Our thoughts are with the families of those on board, the United States stands ready to support Nepal in any way we can at this difficult time,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
The accident, which was the deadliest in Nepal in 30 years, killed all 72 passengers after it plummeted into a gorge during landing near Pokhara International Airport in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Among the passengers were those from Nepal, Argentina, Australia, France, Ireland, Korea, Russia and India.
Two US citizens and two legal permanent residents were killed in the Nepal plane crash on Sunday, State Department spokesman Ned Price (pictured) confirmed. “We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic Yeti Airlines crash over the weekend”
Although little is known about the crash, co-pilot Anju Khatiwada, 44 – who was US-trained – had logged more than 6,400 flight hours and had previously flown the popular tourist route from the capital Kathmandu to the second port of the country. -largest city, Pokhara.
Kamal KC, the captain of the flight, had more than 21,900 flight hours.
However, Jagannath Niroula, a spokesman for the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority, said Thursday that the new airport did not have an instrument landing system to guide planes onto the runway.
He said the landing system would not be working until February 26, 56 days after the airport began operations on January 1.
An instrument landing system helps aircraft fly safely when the pilot is unable to maintain visual contact with surrounding obstacles and the ground, mainly due to weather conditions or at night. Pilots can also fly by eye instead of relying on instruments.
Aviation safety experts said it reflects the Himalayan country’s poor aviation safety record, although the cause of the crash has not been determined.
The pilots say that mountainous Nepal, where in-flight visibility problems are common, can be a difficult place to fly, but conditions at the time of the crash were good, with low winds, clear skies and temperatures well above freezing point. of freezing.
While it’s still unclear what caused the crash, some aviation experts say ground-based video of the plane’s last moments indicates it stalled, though it’s unclear why.
The crash (pictured) killed all 72 passengers after it plunged into a gorge during landing.
Half of the plane was left dangling in the gorge after crashing. It was the deadliest in Nepal in 30 years
Although the cause of the crash has not been confirmed, the new airport did not have a functioning instrument landing system to guide planes onto the runway. The landing system would not be operational until February 26, according to the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority.
Amit Singh, an experienced pilot and founder of the Safety Affairs Foundation of India, said the lack of an instrument landing system or navigation aids could be a “contributing cause” of the crash, noting a “safety culture Notoriously Bad Aerial in Nepal”.
“Flying in Nepal becomes challenging if you don’t have navigation aids and it puts extra workload on the pilot every time he experiences problems during a flight,” Singh said. “The lack of an instrument landing system only reaffirms that Nepal’s air safety culture is inadequate.”
Yeti Airlines said the plane’s cockpit voice recorder will be tested locally, but the flight data recorder will be shipped to France. Both were recovered on Monday.
Hundreds of rescue workers toured the hillside site where the plane crashed before confirming the deaths.
Local television showed a thick column of black smoke billowing from the crash site as rescuers and crowds of people gathered around the wreckage on Sunday.
Co-pilot Anju Khatiwada, 44, who was trained in the US, logged more than 6,400 flight hours and had previously flown the popular tourist route from the capital, Kathmandu, to the country’s second-largest city, Pokhara. .
The plane was seen leaning to the side as it tried to land near the airport on Sunday.
Local television showed rescuers fighting against the broken parts of the aircraft. Part of the ground near the crash site was scorched, with visible flames.
“The plane is burning,” police officer Ajay KC said earlier this week, adding that rescue teams had difficulty reaching the site in a gorge between two hills near the resort town’s airport.
The plane made contact with the airport from Seti Gorge at 10:50 a.m. local time, the aviation authority said in a statement. Then it crashed.
“Half of the plane is on the hillside,” said Arun Tamu, a local resident, who told Reuters he arrived at the site minutes after the plane crashed. The other half has fallen into the Seti River Gorge.
Khum Bahadur Chhetri said that he watched from the roof of his house as the flight approached.
“I saw the plane shaking, moving from left to right, and suddenly it plummeted and went into the gorge,” Chhetri told Reuters.
Grieving family members (pictured) of the victims of Sunday’s plane crash grew impatient Wednesday as they waited for authorities to perform an autopsy.
“It’s been four days, but no one is listening to us,” said Madan Kumar Jaiswal as he waited outside the Tribhuvan University Institute of Medicine on Wednesday (Pictured: Rescuers carry a victim away from the crash site).
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda met the bereaved families on Thursday and called on hospital authorities to speed up the remaining autopsies on some victims so that their bodies can be released to their families.
Authorities said it was taking time to identify several bodies that were badly burned.
Grieving relatives of the victims of Sunday’s plane crash grew impatient Wednesday as they waited for authorities to perform an autopsy.
“It’s been four days, but no one is listening to us,” Madan Kumar Jaiswal said as he waited outside the Tribhuvan University Institute of Medicine on Wednesday.
He said he wants autopsies done quickly so families can receive the bodies of their loved ones.
‘They are saying they are going to do a DNA test. My daughter is dead,’ said Ashok Rayamagi, the father of another victim.
The ATR 72-500 twin-engine plane was flying from the capital Kathmandu to Pokhara, 125 miles to the west, when it plunged into a gorge on its approach to the airport. The crash site is approximately one mile from the runway at an elevation of approximately 2,700 feet.
The accident is the deadliest in Nepal since 1992, when a Pakistan International Airlines plane crashed into a hill while attempting to land in Kathmandu, killing all 167 on board. There have been 42 fatal plane crashes in Nepal since 1946, according to the Safety Matters Foundation.
A 2019 safety report from the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority said the country’s “hostile topography” and “diverse weather patterns” were the biggest dangers to flights in the country.
The European Union has banned Nepalese airlines from flying to the 27-nation bloc since 2013, citing weak security standards. In 2017, the International Civil Aviation Organization cited improvements in Nepal’s aviation sector, but the EU continues to demand administrative reforms.