Nepal helicopter crash: Himalayan nation is notorious for poor air safety | 5 incidents

Jul 11, 2023 04:34 PM IST

Six people died when a tourist helicopter crashed in Nepal's Mount Everest region. Nepal has had at least 12 fatal plane crashes since 2010.

Six people, including five Mexican tourists and a Nepali pilot, died in a helicopter crash in Nepal's Mount Everest region on Tuesday, according to aviation authorities. The helicopter, operated by Manang Air, was travelling from near Lukla, the gateway for climbing expeditions to the world's highest peak, to the capital city of Kathmandu. (Nepal helicopter crash all updates here)

Nepal averages about one flight disaster a year.(Representative Image/Manang Air Helicopters)
Nepal averages about one flight disaster a year.(Representative Image/Manang Air Helicopters)

Nepal averages about one flight disaster a year. Since 2010, the Himalayan destination has witnessed at least 12 fatal plane crashes, including the latest one.

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Five major plane accidents occurred in Nepal

1. 2023: Yeti Airlines Crash in Pokhara - In January 2023, a tragic accident took place when a Yeti Airlines flight crashed near the central city of Pokhara. All 72 people on board, including passengers and crew members, lost their lives in the incident. The aircraft plummeted into a steep gorge, breaking into pieces and bursting into flames as it approached Pokhara.

2. 2022: Tara Air Crash in Mustang District - On May 29, 2022, a Tara Air plane crashed in Mustang district, resulting in the fatalities of all 22 individuals aboard.

3. 2018: US-Bangla Airlines Crash near Kathmandu - In 2018, a tragic accident occurred near Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport involving a US-Bangla Airlines flight. The plane crash-landed, causing the death of 51 people, while 20 others sustained serious injuries.

4. 1992: Pakistan International Airlines Crash in Kathmandu - Considered the deadliest air accident in Nepal's history, a Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed in 1992 during its approach to Kathmandu airport. All 167 passengers and crew members on board perished in the tragic incident.

5. 1992: Thai Airways Crash near Kathmandu - Another significant plane accident occurred near Kathmandu airport, involving a Thai Airways aircraft. The crash took place just two months prior to the 1992 Pak Airlines incident. Tragically, 113 people lost their lives in this crash.

Why does Nepal see frequent plane crashes?

Nepal, known for its breathtaking beauty, poses significant challenges for aircraft operations due to its rugged and hazardous topography, unpredictable weather patterns, and limited visibility.

The region is home to numerous remote and hard-to-reach airstrips, with the Tenzing-Hillary Airport in the northeastern region of Lukla often regarded as the world's most perilous airport.

According to the air safety report of Nepal's civil aviation authority in 2019, the country faces unique obstacles in aviation due to the diverse weather patterns and challenging topography. These factors add to the poor air safety and aircraft standards. Nepal's aviation sector has also been plagued by insufficient training and maintenance. The European Union has banned all Nepali carriers from its airspace over safety concerns.

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