The co-pilot of the Yeti Airlines plane carrying 72 people was seconds away from achieving her dreams of becoming a captain when the ill-fated plane crashed into a forested area in Nepal on Sunday.
The journey, which led to the crash, which scheduled to be the last flight of co-pilot, Anju Khativada, as a pilot. Khatiwada was set to become the captain after her successful landing, according to ABP News.
However, her dreams came crashing down as the passenger plane with 72 people, including five Indians, crashed into a river gorge while landing at the newly-opened airport in the resort city of Pokhara, killing at least 68 people onboard.
Yeti Airlines’ 9N-ANC ATR-72 aircraft took off from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport at 10:33 am and crashed on the bank of the Seti River between the old airport and the new airport minutes before landing.
As per the rules, a person needs at least 100 hours of flying experience to become a pilot. Khatiwada had successfully landed in almost all the airports of Nepal.
Ironically, Anju Khatiwada had lost her husband, who was also a co-pilot, in a similar plane crash 16 years back.
Her husband was also working with Yeti Airlines like Anju. The husband died, sixteen years ago on June 21, 2006, when Yeti Airlines 9N AEQ aircraft on its way to Jumla from Nepalganj crashed leaving six passengers and four crew members dead.
The government has formed a five-member probe committee to investigate the crash. The probe panel headed by former aviation secretary Nagendra Ghimire has been asked to investigate the accident and submit its report within 45 days, said government Spokesperson and Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel on Sunday.
Pokhara, the tourist hotspot lies between two rivers, the Bijayapur and the Seti, which makes it a perfect habitat for birds. Excellent for sightseers, of course, but a terror for pilots.
Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 claimed that the Yeti Airlines aircraft was 15 years old and equipped with an ‘old transponder with unreliable data’.
According to Nepal’s civil aviation body, 914 people have died in air crashes in the country since the first disaster was recorded in August 1955. The Yeti Airlines tragedy in Pokhara on Sunday is the 104th crash in Nepali skies and the third biggest in terms of casualties.