Kathmandu, February 26

At a time when emotional strain triggered by Wednesday’s crash of Tara Air aircraft in Myagdi district has not subsided, Nepal’s aviation sector has witnessed another fatal air accident.

An aircraft of Air Kasthamandap, en route to Jumla from Nepalgunj, with 11 on board, today force landed at Chilkhaya of Kalikot district, killing the pilot and the co-pilot.

The deceased have been identified as Dinesh Neupane, pilot-in-charge, and Santosh Rana, co-pilot of the aircraft. They were the only two crew members in the plane.

Nine passengers, including an infant, on board the aircraft, who have sustained injuries, are undergoing treatment in Kohalpur. All the injured passengers were airlifted using MI70 helicopter of Shree Airlines.

“Most of the passengers have suffered injuries in arms and legs. All of them are out of danger,” Sailesh Shrestha, an official of Air Kasthamandap, told The Himalayan Times, without disclosing names of passengers.

The single engine PAC 750 aircraft, with call sign 9NJB, had taken off from Nepalgunj airport at 1:16pm.

It was around seven to 10 minutes away from its final destination, before it crash landed at Chilkhaya at an altitude of around 6,800 feet, a high-ranking official of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, the aviation sector regulatory body, told THT.

“We still don’t know the reason behind force landing. But our initial suspicion is that the aircraft’s engine may have encountered some technical problem,” said the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal official.

An official of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said when planes with single engine encounter problems, pilots try to glide the

aircraft to the nearest airport. “The pilot may have tried to do that today but because of the difficult terrain he may have been forced to crash land it at the nearest open space,” the official said.

However, what most of the experts that THT talked to agree on is that ‘the pilot played a vital role in saving the lives of passengers’.

Twenty-nine-year-old Neupane, who had accumulated around 2,800 hours of flying time in his career, had started flying around six years ago, according to Shrestha.

“Twenty-seven-year-old co-pilot Rana, on the other hand, had accumulated around 400 to 500 hours of flying time in his career.”


PM expresses grief

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli expressed grief over the death of pilot and co-pilot of when Air Kasthamandap plane crash landed in Kalikot district on Friday.

The PM also expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the two victims.

According to a press release issued by PM’s Press Adviser Pramod Dahal, the PM directed the authorities concerned to do the needful to rescue the passengers and provide treatment to the injured passengers.


Probe committee formed

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has formed

a four-member committee to probe into the aircraft accident of Air Kasthamandap.

The committee, headed by former government secretary Yagya Prasad Gautam, comprises Lt Col Rabindra Kumar Basnet, an army pilot, Ramesh Kumar Singh, senior

engineer of Goma Air, and Hari Bahadur Khadka, under-secretary of the MoCTCA, as


The probe committee has been given a 60-day deadline to submit the final report.


CAAN decision

KATHMANDU: CAAN has suspended operation of all single engine aircraft until further notice.

Goma Air and Makalu Air operate two single engine aircraft and Air Kasthamandap operates one single engine aircraft.