I returned from trekking late yesterday afternoon and came into the internet cafe today to update my blog and my Facebook page. During my trek I heard that there had been another tragedy in Nepal, but when you are in the mountains you are getting news second or third hand, so it’s difficult to be sure of all the facts.
Unfortunately the information was correct. I’ve taken the following article from the Nepali Times.
Another air crash
Monday, May 14th, 2012
Crash site of Agni Air’s Dornier 228 on a mountainside, west of Jomsom Pic: RSS
Barely six months after a deadly plane crash in Kathmandu, there has been another one taking the total number of people killed in seven accidents in the last six years in Nepal to 95.
Fifteen of the 21 passengers and crew on board an Agni Air flight from Pokhara were killed when the Dornier 228 was trying to turn back to Pokhara after reporting a technical glitch. The crash site is on a mountainside west of Jomsom airfield 500 ft (200 m) above the runway at an altitude of 9,000 ft (3,300 m). The weather was reported clear, although the notorious high winds were beginning to pick up at 9:45am when the crash occurred.
The two pilots and 13 Indian passengers were killed. Among the survivors are the flight attendant, two Danish trekkers and two young Indian girls and their relative: all were sitting at the back of the plane. The crash site is located near the Nepal Army’s Mountain Warfare Training Centre, and rescuers were at the scene almost immediately. The injured have been airlifted to hospital in Pokhara, only 15 minutes flight time away.
The crash will make Nepal even more notorious for aviation safety. This is the fourth crash of a domestic flight in the last two years with a loss of at least 76 lives. And that does not include four other helicopter crashes, some of them fatal.
In October 2011, six people were killed when a military rescue flight from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu went off course at night and hit the mountains near Dhorpatan. Barely a month before that, a Mt Everest sightseeing flight returning to Kathmandu hit a hillside near Kathmandu airport killing all 14 on board, most of them Indian passengers. In December 2010, 22 crew and passengers, most of them pilgrims from Bhutan, were killed when a Twin Otter hit a mountain after takeoff from Lamidanda.
I had a few comments from friends relating to my last post and it was clear that this type of information does not always reach the Western media. I suppose it’s fair to say that CNN, Sky or the BBC cannot report on everything that happens around the world, however it does seem to be a different story when the casualties include US or British citizens.