Crashed Yeti Airlines aircraft was previously owned by now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines

Mishandling, malfunctioning of an aircraft system or pilot fatigue could be among the factors for the deadly plane crash in Nepal, according to pilots and aircraft accident investigation experts.

Published: 16th January 2023 05:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2023 05:20 PM   |  A+A-

Crashed Yeti Airlines aircraft , Nepal crash

Wreckage of a passenger plane lies near the airport, in Pokhara, Nepal on Jan.16, 2023 | AP


KATHMANDU: The crashed ATR-72 Nepalese passenger plane was previously used by the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owned by liquor baron Vijay Mallya, according to Cirium Fleets data.

The Yeti Airlines aircraft took off from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport at 10:33 am on Sunday and crashed on the bank of the Seti River between the old airport and the new airport in Pokhara, minutes before landing, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

At least 68 people have died and four people are still missing, officials said, in Nepal's worst aviation tragedy in over three decades.

There were 15 foreigners, including five Indian nationals, onboard the ill-fated flight.

According to Cirium Fleets data, which tracks aircraft fleet, equipment and its cost, the 9N-ANC aircraft was delivered to the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines in 2007.

Six years later, it was bought by Thailand's Nok Air, before it was sold to Nepal's Yeti Airlines in 2019, it said. Cirium Fleets data noted that the aircraft was managed by lessor Investec Bank, and owned by KF Turbo Leasing.

It was the first instance that an ATR-72 aircraft met with an accident in Nepal's chequered aviation history.

ALSO READ | Black box recovered from accident site, 35 bodies identified 

The ATR-72 is a twin-engine turboprop, short-haul regional airliner developed in France and Italy by aircraft manufacturer ATR, which is a joint venture between French aerospace company Aerospatiale and Italian aviation conglomerate Aeritalia.

The number '72' in its name is derived from the aircraft's typical standard seating capacity of 72 passengers. Currently, only Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines use ATR-72 aircraft in Nepal for short haul services.

Mishandling, malfunctioning of an aircraft system or pilot fatigue could be among the factors that caused the deadly plane crash in Nepal, according to pilots and an aircraft accident investigation expert.

They said the exact reasons that led to the accident will be known only after a detailed investigation.

ALSO READ | Nepal air crash: Video captures horrific moments before plane went down

Going by the video clips on social media purportedly showing the plane's trajectory seconds before it crashed, it was a clear sky and the weather was not bad.

An aircraft accident investigator said that the nose of the aircraft slightly went up and the wings drooped to the left side before the crash happened, and there could have been a stall.

Meanwhile, the black box of the aircraft was recovered from the accident site on Monday, officials said.


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