2019 Taplejung helicopter crash

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.[1] 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.[2]

2019 Taplejung helicopter crash (Nepali: २०७५ ताप्लेजुङ हेलिकप्टर दुर्घटना)
Helicopter rescue sancy takeoff
A Eurocopter AS350, similar to the one involved in the accident
Accident
DateFebruary 27, 2019
SummaryCrashed shortly after take-off; under investigation
SiteTaplejung, Nepal
Aircraft
Aircraft typeEurocopter AS350 B3e
OperatorAir Dynasty
Registration9N-AMI
Flight originPathibhara Devi Temple
DestinationChuhandanda, Nepal
Occupants7
Passengers6
Crew1
Fatalities7
Survivors0
Taplejung district locator map
Map of Taplejung District
Rabindra Prasad Adhikari
Rabindra Prasad Adhikari died in the crash.

Background

Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal Rabindra Prasad Adhikari came to Taplejung to inspect the under-construction airport at Chuhandanda.[3] 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.[4] After visiting the temple Adhikari and other passengers were returning to Chuhandanda in Tehrathum.[5]

Aircraft

The aircraft involved was a Eurocopter AS350 B3e bearing the registration 9N-AMI. It was built by Airbus Helicopters in 2017 and delivered to Air Dynasty brand new.[6][7]

Passengers and crew

On board the helicopter were, among the minister Adhikari, Ang Tshering Sherpa (de), managing director of Yeti Airlines and Air Dynasty,[8] 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.[9]

Incident

The helicopter crash occurred due to critical weather in Taplejung, Nepal.[10] 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).[11]

The helicopter crashed at Sisne Khola, Pathibhara, Taplejung, Nepal. Nepalese police reported that Rabindra Adhikari and another passenger were in an identifiable state.[12] 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.[13] Suraj Bhattarai, a witness also reported to the police "The helicopter is in pieces, and scattered all over".[14] The helicopter caught fire after hitting Chuchche Dada and falling down to Sisne Khola.[15]

Aftermath

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.[16] 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."[17] Thapa also said that "The national flag will be hoisted at half-staff to mourn the departed souls."[18]

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.[19]

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".[20]

Mourning the loss of their managing director, Yeti Airlines, and Tara Air cancelled all flights on 1 March 2019.[21][22]

The bodies of the passengers and the pilot were brought to Kathmandu on February 28 at 12:10 p.m.[23] 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[24][25] and his body would be cremated at Pokhara, Nepal.[26]

Investigation

On 28 February, the Government of Nepal opened an investigation into the accident.[27]

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,[28] and the weather conditions[29] for causing the crash.

References

  1. ^ "Nepal Tourism Minister Adhikari among 7 dead in helicopter crash". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  2. ^ "Update: All onboard seven confirmed dead in Taplejung helicopter crash". My Republica. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  3. ^ "Nepal tourism minister Rabindra Adhikari killed in helicopter crash". Hindustani Times. 2019-02-27. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  4. ^ Bhandari, Rajneesh; Sharma, Bhadra (2019-02-27). "Nepal Helicopter Crash Kills 7, Including Tourism Minister". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  5. ^ "Air mishap kills Nepal minister Rabindra Adhikari". Deccan Chronicle. 2019-02-28. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  6. ^ "Airbus Helicopters H125 / AS350B3e Ecureuil". Helis.com. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Air Dynasty receives its new factory made H125 '9N-AMI' chopper". Aviation Nepal. 16 September 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Ang Tshering Sherpa, aviation pioneer and hospitality entrepreneur, dies in a helicopter crash". The Kathmandu Post. 27 February 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Nepal's tourism minister Adhikari among seven killed in helicopter crash". ThePrint. 2019-02-27. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  10. ^ Gurubacharya, Binaj. "Helicopter crashes in Nepal, killing tourism chief, 6 others". The Sacramento Bee. ISSN 0890-5738. Archived from the original on 2019-02-28. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  11. ^ "All 7 onboard confirmed dead in Nepal chopper crash: police - Xinhua | English.news.cn". www.xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  12. ^ "Helicopter carrying Tourism Minister crashes". Nepali Times. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  13. ^ "Nepal's tourism minister Rabindra Adhikari among seven killed in helicopter crash - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  14. ^ "Nepal Minister Rabindra Adhikari among seven killed in helicopter crash".
  15. ^ "Nepal's Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Rabindra Adhikari among seven killed in helicopter crash". The Financial Express. 2019-02-27. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  16. ^ "Government declares national mourning day on Thursday, announces public holiday". kathmandupost.ekantipur.com. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  17. ^ "Govt announces national mourning day tomorrow". My Republica. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  18. ^ "Govt announces public holiday tomorrow, forms probe panel". The Himalayan Times. 2019-02-27. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  19. ^ "Four of seven bodies brought to Suketar". Setopati. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  20. ^ "Nation lost a promising youth leader". My Republica. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  21. ^ "Yeti and Tara cancel all flights for tomorrow to mourn MD Sherpa's demise". The Himalayan Times. 2019-02-28. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  22. ^ "Air Dynasty chopper carrying Tourism Minister, Yeti Airlines owner crashes in Taplejung". Setopati. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  23. ^ Ratopati. "All Bodies Of Air Dynasty Chopper Victims Flown To Kathmandu". Ratopati. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  24. ^ Ratopati. "Condolence Meetings In All Districts Of Gandaki Province To Mourn Adhikari's Death". Ratopati. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  25. ^ "NCP to hold tribute ceremony to commemorate late Adhikari". My Republica. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  26. ^ "मन्त्री अधिकारीको अन्त्येष्टि गृह जिल्लामा हुने". www.kantipurdaily.com (in Nepali). Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  27. ^ "Govt forms panel to probe Taplejung chopper crash". Online Khabar. 28 February 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  28. ^ "Violations of operating procedures led to Air Dynasty crash, report says". The Kathmandu Post. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  29. ^ "Inclement weather main reason for Air Dynasty chopper crash that killed Rabindra Adhikari: Probe Committee". Setopati. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.

External links

Tara Air

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

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