Disasters & Accidents

Nepal’s Yeti Airlines plane crash caused by human error: probe

Kathmandu, Feb 15 (EFE).- The accident involving Yeti Airlines’ flight 691 – which crashed last month just before landing at a Nepali airport killing all 72 people onboard – was caused by human error, according to the preliminary conclusions of an international probe.

The propellers of the commercial ATR72-500 aircraft – manufactured by French-Italian company ATR – were put into a feathered condition, which caused the plane to stall and eventually crash, according to the preliminary report released by the International Civil Aviation Organization on Wednesday.

Putting a propeller in the feathered position allows the pilot to stop propulsion during the flight, and in the case of the ATR72-500 in question, it was apparently employed in propellers of both engines.

“Both the engine lost power. It is a human error,” Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, member secretary of the five-member probe committee formed by the government, told EFE.

The plane had crashed on Jan. 15, about 20 minutes after taking off from Kathmandu and on the way to the airport in Pokhara, a popular tourist destination.

With an estimated flight time of under half an-hour, the accident took place when the aircraft was trying to land at its destination.

This was the plane’s third flight during the day, after having covered the Kathmandu-Pokhara and Pokhara-Kathmandu route earlier.

The probe has not reported engine failure, but many factors have to be “analyzed extensively” before the final report is released, Lamichhane said.

“We are analyzing the reason behind the feathering of both propellers,” he added.

According to the report, the flight was being operated by two pilots, with one of them still in the process of obtaining aerodrome familiarization for operating in Pokhara and the other being the instructor pilot.

During their first contact with Pokhara air traffic control, the ATC had assigned them runway 30 to land.

However, during the later phases of the flight, the crew requested and received clearance from the ATC to land on runway 12.

This was the third deadliest air accidents in Nepal’s history, after two crashes in 1992 that killed 192 and 113 people respectively.

More than 900 people have died from aviation accidents in the Himalayan country since November 1960, when it recorded its first plane crash, according to data from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. EFE


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