Kathmandu, May 30 (PTI) Bad weather was the reason behind the crash of the Tara Air plane in Nepal’s mountainous Mustang district on Sunday with 22 people on board, including four Indians, according to a preliminary investigation carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).
The Canadian-built turboprop Twin Otter 9N-AET plane went missing on Sunday morning in the mountainous region of Nepal minutes after taking off from the tourist city of Pokhara. The plane, which conducted its first flight 42 years and two months ago on April 21, 1979, was carrying four Indians, two Germans and 13 Nepali passengers, besides a three-member Nepali crew.
The government has formed a five-member commission of inquiry headed by senior aeronautical engineer Ratish Chandra Lal Suman to find out the cause of the Tara Air plane crash, officials said. Preliminary investigation revealed that the aircraft had crashed into the mountains after it swerved to the right, instead of turning to the left due to inclement weather, CAAN Director-General Pradeep Adhikari said during a meeting of the International Committee of Parliament on Monday.
The wreckage of the airplane was found on Monday morning at the Sanusare cliff at Thasang rural municipality-2 of Mustang district. The crash site is situated at a distance of eight nautical miles from the Jomsom Airport. Rescuers have so far pulled out 20 bodies from the wreckage of the crashed plane.
The plane was first purchased by Air Botswana in 1979. The plane later entered Nepal in 1998 under its new operator Lumbini Airways but was procured by Yeti Airlines in 1999. The plane had been operated by Tara Air since April 2010, My Republica news website reported. Adverse weather impact is likely to be the primary cause of the accident, experts say.
Former Director General of CAAN Raj Kumar Chhetri said that the age of the plane is not the factor for its accident. “The adverse weather on Sunday could be the reason behind the accident,” he opined. However, the reason behind the disastrous accident will be known once the investigation is over, he said.
“Our topography is mostly high hills and mountains, along with continuous changing wind and weather patterns causing difficulties for planes to maneuver around high terrains and in low visibility,” Chhetri told Republica.