NEWS Nepal sends crash data recorder to France

Nepal sends crash data recorder to France

POKHARA, Nepal (AP) — Nepalese authorities on Tuesday began returning the remains of those killed on Sunday’s plane that crashed to families and said they were sending the plane’s data recorders to France for analysis in an attempt to determine what caused the crash. The accident of the country’s deadliest plane in 30 years.

The plane crashed into a canyon on Sunday At least 70 of the 72 people on board were killed as it approached the newly opened Pokhara International Airport in the foothills of the Himalayas.Searchers find the plane’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder and combing through debris scattered in the 300-meter-deep (984-foot-deep) canyon on Monday in search of people still missing but presumed dead.

One body was found Tuesday, and two more are still missing.

The cockpit voice recorder will be analyzed locally, but the flight data recorder will be sent to France, Nepal Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Jagannath Niraula said. The aircraft’s manufacturer, ATR, is headquartered in Toulouse. France’s air accident investigation agency confirmed it was involved in the investigation and its investigators were at the scene today.

The twin-engine ATR 72-500 aircraft operated by Nepal’s Yeti Airlines completed the 27-minute flight from the capital Kathmandu to the resort town of Pokhara, 200 kilometers (125 miles) to the west.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, which occurred less than a minute’s flight from the airport on clear and windy days.

Aviation experts say turboprop appears to have stalled At low altitude close to the airport, but it is not clear why.

From the smartphone video taken from the ground seconds before the plane crashed, it can be seen that the ATR 72 “has a high nose, high angle of attack, very high wing bank angle, and is close to the ground,” said aerospace engineer Bob Mann. analysts and consultants.

“Whether it is due to a loss of power, or a misjudgment of the aircraft’s energy, direction, or approach profile, and an attempt to change the energy or approach, the attitude of the aircraft can result in an aerodynamic stall and a rapid loss of altitude when approaching the ground,” he said. said in an email.

The plane was carrying 68 passengers, including 15 foreigners and 4 crew members. The foreigners included five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France. Pokhara is the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, a popular hiking trail in the Himalayas.

Authorities began handing over bodies to relatives on Tuesday morning, but the bodies of foreigners and unidentified people will be sent to Kathmandu for further investigation, officials said.

Funerals for the victims, many of whom hail from the area, are expected to be held in Pokhara and nearby areas. The dead included a pharmaceutical marketing agent who came to accompany his sister as she gave birth, and a priest from a South Korean religious group who went to the school he founded.

Hundreds of relatives and friends still gathered outside a local hospital Monday night. Many consoled each other, while others spoke out to officials to expedite autopsies so they could bring their loved ones home for funerals.

Patrick Smith, an aviation expert who has flown Boeing 757s and 767s and wrote an “Ask the Pilot” column, warned that many details of the crash were still unknown, but said the plane “appears to have crashed.” “Low altitude control. “

“One possibility is a botched response to an engine failure,” he told The Associated Press in an email.

The Nepal Civil Aviation Authority said the plane last made contact with the airport at 10.50am on Sunday from near Seti Gorge before crashing.

The person who captured the smartphone footage of the plane’s descent said the plane swerved to the left in what appeared to be a normal landing.

“I saw it and I was shocked… I thought everything would end here after the crash today and I would die,” Diwas Bohora said.

The aircraft type in question, an ATR 72, has been used by airlines around the world for short-haul regional flights since the late 1980s. The model aircraft, brought in by French and Italian partners, has been involved in several fatal accidents over the years. In Taiwan, two accidents involving ATR 72-500 and ATR 72-600 aircraft in 2014 and 2015 resulted in the grounding of the aircraft for some time.

According to aircraft tracking data, the plane was 15 years old and “equipped with an old transponder with unreliable data”. Before Yeti took over in 2019, it was operated by India’s Kingfisher Airlines and Thailand’s Nok Air, according to records on ATR did not respond to a request for comment.

Nepal is home to eight of the world’s 14 tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, which has a history of air crashes. Sunday’s crash was Nepal’s deadliest since 1992, when a Pakistan International Airlines plane plunged into a mountain while trying to land in Kathmandu, killing all 167 people on board.

Since 1946, there have been 42 fatal plane crashes in Nepal, according to the Flight Safety Foundation’s aviation safety database.

Since 2013, the European Union has banned Nepal Airlines from flying to the 27-nation bloc, citing weak safety standards. In 2017, the International Civil Aviation Organization said Nepal’s aviation industry had improved, but the EU continued to demand administrative reforms.

Reporting was contributed by Krutika Pathi in New Delhi, David Rising in Bangkok and Angela Charlton in Paris.

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