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Report reveals pilots’ critical error as cause of Nepal’s fatal air crash

The investigation into the Yeti Airlines crash in Nepal, which resulted in 72 deaths, has determined that pilot error was to blame. The fatal mistake of inadvertently cutting power caused an aerodynamic stall, marking the incident as Nepal’s most severe air tragedy since 1992.

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A government-appointed investigation panel in Nepal disclosed that the crash of Yeti Airlines flight YT-202 almost a year ago, claiming the lives of 72 people, was caused by a critical error made by the pilots.

The crash, one of the deadliest in Nepal’s aviation history, occurred on 15 January as the ATR 72, operated by Yeti Airlines, attempted to land in Pokhara, a popular tourist destination.

The investigation, led by aeronautical engineer Dipak Prasad Bastola, highlighted that the pilots mistakenly placed the condition levers, which control power, in the feathering position instead of selecting the flap lever.

This error led to an aerodynamic stall, causing the engines to run idle and fail to produce thrust.

Despite the loss of power, the aircraft continued flying for up to 49 seconds before tragically hitting the ground, resulting in no survivors among the 72 passengers, including two infants, four crew members, and 15 foreign nationals.

Bastola emphasized that the pilots’ actions were attributed to a lack of awareness and the absence of standard operating procedures.

The European Union’s ban on Nepali airlines from its airspace since 2013, citing safety concerns, underscores the ongoing challenges facing Nepal’s aviation industry.

The crash of Yeti Airlines marked Nepal’s most lethal aviation incident since 1992, when a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A300 crashed near Kathmandu, claiming the lives of all 167 occupants.

Additionally, Nepal has witnessed almost 350 fatalities in plane or helicopter accidents since 2000. The country, boasting eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks, faces unsafe conditions due to unpredictable weather changes, including the towering presence of Mount Everest.

The ATR 72, a twin-engine aircraft, was manufactured by the French company ATR, and its engines were produced in Canada by Pratt & Whitney Canada (RTX.N).

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