Nepal Plane Crash Caused by Pilot Pulling the Wrong Levers that Killed 72

The Nepal Plane Crash of Yeti Airlines Flight 691 resulted in the loss of 72 lives, making it the country’s deadliest plane crash in three decades. The government-appointed investigation panel released its findings, attributing the tragedy to human error, specifically the pilots mistakenly cutting power.

Nepal Plane Crash Caused by Pilot Pulling the Wrong Levers that Killed 72

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On January 15, 2023, Yeti Airlines Flight 691, an ATR 72 aircraft, was en route from Kathmandu to Pokhara, a tourist destination.

The flight, operated by Yeti Airlines, was on its third sector of the day, shuttling between the two cities. The crash occurred just before landing in Pokhara, causing the aircraft to plummet into the Seti River gorge, approximately 1.5 km from the airport.

The crash site witnessed a large-scale rescue operation involving hundreds of Nepalese soldiers. Unfortunately, there were no survivors among the 72 individuals on board, including two infants, four crew members, and 15 foreign nationals. The incident is Nepal’s worst aviation disaster since 1992.

The government-appointed panel, consisting of experts in aeronautics and aviation, conducted a thorough investigation into the crash.

The report, submitted after eight months and three days of examination, concluded that the most probable cause of the accident was the movement of both condition levers to the feathered position in flight.

Dipak Prasad Bastola, an aeronautical engineer and member of the investigating panel, explained that the pilots mistakenly placed the condition levers in the feathering position instead of selecting the flap lever. This error led the engine to run idle, resulting in a loss of thrust causing an aerodynamic stall.

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The report attributes the crash to human error, addressing that the pilot’s lack of awareness from standard operating procedures were contributing factors.

The movement of both condition levers to the feathered position was identified as the primary cause of the crash. This action caused both propellers to feather, leading to the loss of thrust.

The consequences of the incorrect lever placement resulted in an aerodynamic stall, a condition where the aircraft loses lift and control.

The Crew Alerting Panel cautions, the flight crew failed to identify the problem promptly and take corrective actions. The aircraft flew for up to 49 seconds before crashing.

The report clarified that the aircraft was properly maintained, with no known defects. The cockpit crew had also been qualified according to the rules and regulations of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

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More than a dozen investigators from the United States, Canada, France, and Singapore participated in the investigation, underlining the international dimension of air crash investigations and the collaborative efforts to ascertain the causes behind such incidents.

The European Union had banned Nepali airlines from its airspace since 2013, citing worries about safety standards.

The Yeti Airlines crash adds to the list of unfortunate incidents that have questions about the country’s aviation infrastructure.

The Yeti Airlines crash stands as Nepal’s deadliest aviation disaster in 30 years. Comparisons with previous incidents, such as the 1992 crash involving a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A300.

The Minister for Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, Sudan Kirati, addressed the importance of implementing the probe commission’s suggestions.

The minister directed subordinate bodies to ensure strict adherence to the recommendations to prevent future accidents caused by human error and operational deficiencies.

With the European Union maintaining its ban on Nepali airlines since 2013, the industry has struggled to regain international trust to certain airspace.

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