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Preliminary Report Reveals Possible Cause of Nepal Plane Crash

Preliminary Report Reveals Possible Cause of Nepal Plane Crash

At 10:33 am NST, the plane departed from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport and was on its final approach to land at Pokhara International Airport when it crashed on the bank of the Seti Gandaki River. A ground video showed the plane banking steeply to the left before crashing 65 meters away, while another video was live-streamed on Facebook by a passenger named Sonu Jaiswal, which showed passengers being unaware of the situation until seconds before impact. The crash took place in Gandaki Province between the old Pokhara Airport and the new Pokhara International Airport, where the aircraft was intending to land. The new airport had opened two weeks prior to the crash. Unfortunately, all 72 people on board the flight lost their lives. This was Nepal's worst aviation disaster since the 1992 crash of Pakistan International Airlines Flight 268 and the deadliest aviation accident in Nepalese domestic aviation history, as well as the deadliest accident involving an ATR 72. An official at the Pokhara International Airport said that air traffic control had cleared the flight to land on runway 30 heading from east to west, but minutes before the crash, the captain requested the opposing runway 12 heading from west to east. A spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal stated that the weather was clear, and preliminary information suggested that a technical issue with the plane caused the crash. Flight-tracking organization Flightradar24 reported that during the flight, the aircraft had been transmitting inaccurate speed and altitude data.


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The founder of India's Safety Matters Foundation, Amit Singh, who is an experienced pilot, noted that the ground video taken just before the crash showed the aircraft's nose being noticeably high, followed by a sudden drop of the left wing, leading to the plane falling out of sight, suggesting a possible stall. The pilot had not reported any issues as the plane approached the airport, according to a spokesman. A committee consisting of five members, led by Nagendra Ghimire, was investigating the crash for the government of Nepal with the participation of the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety. On 16 January, both the flight data and cockpit voice recorders were found in good condition, and the investigation authority in Nepal requested that both be examined in Singapore. According to the committee, the data recorders showed that the propellers were feathered, which generates no thrust. On 13 February, the preliminary report was released, revealing that the pilot had reported no power from the aircraft's engines just before the crash.


The preliminary report on the Nepal plane crash reveals that the Flight Data Recorder did not record any anomaly related to the engines. However, the report indicates that the Pilot Flying had mentioned twice that there was no power coming from the engines when the Air Traffic Controller gave the clearance for landing. At the time of the crash, the prevailing visibility was clear, and the experts believe that the pilots unintentionally pulled the condition levers, which caused the engine to shut down and feather the propellers. The investigators found the levers pulled down at the crash site. Additionally, there are questions about why the pilots delayed extending the flaps, and the routine checklists were not followed. The state investigating the accident must produce a preliminary report within 30 days, and the final report should be produced within 12 months. The flight crew had made two flights between Kathmandu and Pokhara earlier in the morning, and the flight that crashed was the third in a row by the same crew. The report says that the take-off, climb, cruise, and descent to Pokhara were normal. The airport was built with China's assistance, and flight calibration, which tests all pieces of equipment at the new airport, has yet to recommend landing from the west. Further investigation will focus on the circumstances under which both propellers went into the feathered condition, human factors, and visual approach procedures.

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