On February 27, 2019, Air Dynasty's Eurocopter AS350 B3e carrying six passengers and one pilot was scheduled to travel on a domestic flight from Pathibhara Devi Temple in Taplejung to Chuhandanda in Tehrathum, Nepal. The aircraft crashed at approximately 1.30 p.m. (NPT) due to bad weather in Taplejung. All seven people on board died in the crash, including Nepal's Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Prasad Adhikari.
|2019 Taplejung helicopter crash (Nepali: २०७५ ताप्लेजुङ हेलिकप्टर दुर्घटना)|
A Eurocopter AS350, similar to the one involved in the accident
|Date||February 27, 2019|
|Summary||Crashed shortly after take-off; under investigation|
|Aircraft type||Eurocopter AS350 B3e|
|Flight origin||Pathibhara Devi Temple|
Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal Rabindra Prasad Adhikari came to Taplejung to inspect the under-construction airport at Chuhandanda. After inspecting the airport, the fellow passengers and crew went to see one of the most significant temples in Nepal, Pathibhara Devi Temple by helicopter. After visiting the temple Adhikari and other passengers were returning to Chuhandanda in Tehrathum.
On board the helicopter were, among the minister Adhikari, Ang Tshering Sherpa (de), managing director of Yeti Airlines and Air Dynasty, an aid to Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, two representatives of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, a security personnel and the Captain of the aircraft.
The helicopter crash occurred due to critical weather in Taplejung, Nepal. The crash killed all seven people on board, including Nepalese Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Rabindra Prasad Adhikari. The pilot of the helicopter reported heavy snowfall in the area of the airport and stated that he was unable to remain airborne, according to The Kathmandu Post. After the incident Air Dynasty was informed at 1:30 p.m. Nepal Standard Time (NPT).
The helicopter crashed at Sisne Khola, Pathibhara, Taplejung, Nepal. Nepalese police reported that Rabindra Adhikari and another passenger were in an identifiable state. Moments after the helicopter went missing, Taplejung residents reported to the police that they had heard a loud bang and seen smoke and fire in the area. Suraj Bhattarai, a witness also reported to the police "The helicopter is in pieces, and scattered all over". The helicopter caught fire after hitting Chuchche Dada and falling down to Sisne Khola.
The Office of the Prime Minister declared 28 February 2019 to be national mourning day in Nepal to pay respect to those who died in the helicopter crash. Nepal's Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa said "All educational institutes, government offices, diplomatic missions will remain closed with a national flag lowered half-mast to mourn the death." Thapa also said that "The national flag will be hoisted at half-staff to mourn the departed souls."
The bodies of four people were brought to Suketar Airport on Wednesday afternoon. Chief District Officer of Taplejung District Anuj Bhandari said "There has been heavy snowfall. We could not take out all the bodies. We will try again tomorrow", he also added that recovering bodies in the crash site is difficult due to helicopter crash site being at the slope of a hill.
Nepal's prime minister Khadga Prasad Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal told the media "The country has lost a dependable youth leader with abundant possibilities in the demise of Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari".
The bodies of the passengers and the pilot were brought to Kathmandu on February 28 at 12:10 p.m. Nepal Communist Party (NCP) said all of the bodies would be cremated with state honours at Ramghat in Nepal. Before the funeral Adhikari's body would be kept at Exhibition Centre at local Nayabazar to pay respect toward him and his body would be cremated at Pokhara, Nepal.
Four months after the accident, the investigation committee released a preliminary report which blamed violations of operating procedures, such as a misbalance of weights and an inexperienced pilot, and the weather conditions for causing the crash.
Tara Air Pvt. Ltd. is an airline headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is a subsidiary of Yeti Airlines. Tara Air was formed in 2009 using aircraft from the Yeti Airlines fleet and is based at Tribhuvan International Airport, with a secondary hub at Nepalgunj Airport. The airline operates scheduled flights and air charter services with a fleet of STOL aircraft, previously provided by Yeti Airlines. Its operations focus on serving remote and mountainous airports and airstrips.Yeti Airlines
Yeti Airlines Pvt. Ltd. (Nepali: येती एयरलाइन्स) is an airline based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The airline was established in May 1998 and received its Air Operators Certificate on 17 August 1998. Yeti Airlines is the parent company of Tara Air. As of 2018, Yeti Airlines was the second largest domestic carrier in Nepal, after Buddha Air, with a market share of 23.5%.
Aviation accidents and incidents in Nepal