Author:Dr. Abdul Ruff
Unsafe planes and poor weather conditions often cause tragedies and many people do not return home from their air journey.
All 18 people aboard a small plane that crashed in bad weather in Nepal were killed on Sunday, the 16th February. The announcement came after searchers battled heavy rain and harsh winds to reach the rugged site the day after the event.
The passengers, among them a foreigner, and a crew of three were killed in crash at Masine hill in the village of Dhikura, 200 km (125 miles) west of the capital Kathmandu.
The crash highlights the poor safety record of Nepal, where more than a dozen airlines fly to nearly 50 airports, many in remote hills and mountains shrouded in cloud and cut off from roads.
Army spokesman said all 18 dead bodies have been found. One was an infant, and nine of the bodies were charred beyond recognition, police added. There were no immediate further details from the remote area, authorities said.
Officials said the plane, a Canadian-made Twin Otter on a flight from the resort town of Pokhara to Jumla in the far west, had broken into pieces, scattering the hillside.
The aircraft, owned by state-run Nepal Airlines Corp, featured in the country’s first hijacking 40 years ago, when it was seized by the activists of Nepali Congress party during a struggle against the ruling monarchy.
At least 97 people have died in six air crashes in Nepal since 2010, the worst occurring in September 2012, when 19 people died after a Dornier plane crashed in Kathmandu just after taking off for Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak.
Many parts of Nepal experienced rain this weekend, with snow covering some mountainous areas. The downpours and bad weather prevented search and rescue helicopters from reaching the area of the crash until Monday.
In December the European Union blacklisted Nepali airlines and banned them from flying to the EU on safety grounds.
The monarchy was abolished in 2008 and the current Nepali Congress party chief, Sushil Koirala, a member of a noted political family who spent three years in jail in India over his involvement in the hijacking, is now Nepal’s prime minister.