Nepal: Crashed aircraft was hijacked by PM's party in 1973

Updated on Feb 17, 2014 02:41 PM IST
The aircraft that crashed in Nepal on Sunday had featured in the country's first hijacking, which involved incumbent Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, 74. Indian actor Mala Sinha was on board when the siege took place in 1973.
Hindustan Times | By, Kathmandu

The aircraft that crashed in Nepal on Sunday had featured in the country's first hijacking, which involved incumbent Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, 74. Indian actor Mala Sinha was on board when the siege took place in 1973.

Sushil Koirala, along with other Nepali Congress members, had taken an active part in the operation. The Nepali Congress was fighting a pro-democracy armed struggle against the ruling monarchy, which was abolished in 2008.

Wreckage of the Canadian-made 19-seater Twin Otter aircraft was found on Monday morning, almost 20 hours after it went missing. The plane crashed at Masine hill in Dhikura village, 200 km west of capital Kathmandu, officials said. All the 18 people on board were killed.

The aircraft had become a talking point after three members of the Nepali Congress hijacked it on June 10, 1973, to fund the party's pro-democracy armed struggle. The plane, owned by Royal Nepal Airlines (later renamed Nepal Airlines), was carrying Rs 30 lakh of government money on the day.

It was forced to land on a grassy strip in Forbesganj, Bihar. The money was taken from the aircraft and transported via road to Darjeeling in West Bengal.

Those involved in masterminding the plot included Girija Prasad Koirala, who later became the prime minister. Sushil Koirala, who was then 34, was at Forbesganj and took active part in the siege.

It is a little-known fact that Bollywood actress Mala Sinha was also in the aircraft as a passenger when it was hijacked.

The aircraft was sent back to Biratnagar and within a year, all hijackers were arrested in India. They served various terms. Sushil Koirala was imprisoned for three years.

It was the first hijacking in Nepal's history. The next one took place in 1999, when Indian Airlines flight IC-814 was hijacked on its way from Kathmandu to Delhi and was diverted to Kandahar in Afghanistan.

In July 1992, the Twin Otter aircraft was in news again after it skidded off the runway and hit a fence while trying to take off from Jumla to Surkhet. None of the three crew members in the flight were injured.

The aircraft's engine was overhauled two months ago after being in service for over 40 years. It was on a routine flight from Kathmandu to Jumla when it went missing on Sunday afternoon.

(With Reuters inputs)


    Utpal is an assistant editor based in Guwahati. He covers all eight states of North-East and was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times .

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Indian army soldiers patrol near the Line of Control in Poonch district, Jammu and Kashmir. (PTI)

    India, China troops will attend military drill hosted by Russia

    Indian and Chinese soldiers will take part in a week-long multi-country drill in Russia starting later this month, with troops from the two countries practising military manoeuvres together in the backdrop of the ongoing border tension in eastern Ladakh and the war in Ukraine. Led by host Russia, the drill will include troops from India, Belarus, Mongolia, Tajikistan and other countries besides China, the Chinese defence ministry said in a brief statement on Wednesday.

  • The explosion hit a mosque in Khair Khana area of Kabul.

    At least 20 killed as massive explosion hits Kabul mosque: Reports

    Several people are feared dead after a massive explosion hit a mosque in Khair Khana area of Afghanistan's Kabul during evening prayers on Wednesday, according to multiple reports. Al Jazeera quoting an unidentified official reported that at least 20 people were killed in the explosion. One Taliban intelligence official told news agency Reuters that as many as 35 people may have been wounded or killed, and the toll could rise further.

  • Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

    Bangladesh PM tells UN that Myanmar must take Rohingya back

    Muslim Rohingya face widespread discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where most are denied citizenship and many other rights. More than 700,000 fled to Bangladesh starting in late August 2017 when the Myanmar military launched a “clearance operation” against them following attacks by a rebel group. The safety situation in Myanmar has worsened following a military takeover last year.

  • WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

    'Colour of skin' may be why Tigray crisis not getting attention, says WHO chief

    The World Health Organization's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has suggested that racism is behind a lack of international attention being paid to the plight of civilians in Ethiopia's war-shattered Tigray region. Calling it the "worst humanitarian crisis in the world", with 6 million people unable to access basic services, Tedros questioned in an emotional appeal why the situation is not getting the same attention as the Ukraine conflict.

  • A patient shows his hand with a sore caused by an infection of the monkeypox virus in the isolation area for monkeypox patients at the Arzobispo Loayza hospital, in Lima. 

    Monkeypox cases jumped 20% last week to 35,000 across 92 countries: WHO

    More than 35,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 92 countries and territories, with almost 7,500 cases being registered last week - a 20 per cent increase, said World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday. Ghebreyesus said there has been a total of 12 monkeypox-related deaths across the world so far.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, August 18, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now