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Plane crash in Pokhara: Formerly part of Kingfisher Airlines, ATR-72 plane crashed in Nepal, also flew for 6 years in Thailand



Kathmandu: The Yeti Airlines ATR-72 plane that crashed in Pokhara, Nepal was once part of the Indian fleet of Kingfisher Airlines. Vijay Mallya’s company, Kingfisher Airlines, bought the brand new plane 15 years ago, in 2007, from the famous French-Italian regional aircraft manufacturer ATR. The aircraft with serial number ATR 754 received the call sign VT-KAJ in India. Until March 30, 2013, this aircraft flew with Kingfisher Airlines. Kingfisher Airlines has closed after Vijay Mallya’s involvement in financial irregularities came to light. In April 2013, this aircraft was purchased by Nok Air of Thailand. This aircraft flew from 2013 to April 2019 with Nok Air.

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Yeti Airlines purchased this 12-year-old ATR aircraft from Nok Air of Thailand on April 20, 2019. Since then, this aircraft had been flying for Yeti Airlines Company with call sign 9N-ANC. The planes of the Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR are reputed to be very safe. The Yeti Airlines plane that crashed in Nepal is the first ATR plane to crash. It was said on behalf of the ATR company that it will investigate at its level the reasons for the crash of this plane. The company will find out if the plane crashed due to a technical fault. ATR said it is cooperating fully with the government of Nepal in the investigation.

The Prime Minister of Nepal had arrived in this plane during the inauguration of the airport of Pokhara
The first demonstration flight also took place with the same aircraft and the same pilot on January 1, 2023, the day of the inauguration of the Pokhara International Airport. All VVIP guests including Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda traveled from Kathmandu to Pokhara on this plane and inaugurated the international airport. Only 15 days later, this plane crashed, tragically killing 72 people. According to Nepalese media, lead pilot and trainer Kamal KC was piloting the ATR-72 plane that crashed. His co-pilot was Anju Khativada. Captain Kamal KC, who had trained many pilots, had 35 years of experience. It was Anju’s last flight as a co-pilot. After her successful landing, she was about to be promoted to chief pilot. However, fate had other plans.

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Anju Khativada was the co-pilot of the plane, her husband was also killed in the plane crash
Co-pilot Anju had previously made successful landings at almost all airports and airstrips in Nepal. Co-pilot Anju’s husband, Deepak Pokharel, was also a co-pilot with Yeti Airlines. He too died in a plane crash 16 years ago. On June 21, 2006, Yeti Airlines 9N-AEQ crashed in Nepal. The aircraft was on a flight from Nepalgunj to Jumla via Surkhet. 6 passengers and 4 crew members were killed in this plane crash. Note that the Yeti Airlines plane, which crashed in Pokhara on January 15, left Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu at 10:33 am. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the plane crashed 10 seconds before landing around 11 a.m. It was said by the airport authority that the accident happened due to a technical fault.

Keywords: aeronautical news, Nepal, Plane crash