Nepal mourns victims of deadliest plane crash in decades as operation continues in 1,000-foot deep ravine

News Network
January 16, 2023

nepal.jpg

Kathmandu, Jan 16: Nepal observed a day of mourning on Monday for the victims of the nation's deadliest aviation disaster in three decades, with 68 people confirmed killed in the plane crash.

The Yeti Airlines ATR 72 plummeted into a steep gorge, smashed into pieces and burst into flames with 72 people on board as it approached the central city of Pokhara on Sunday, police said.

Soldiers used ropes and stretchers to retrieve bodies from the 300-metre (1,000-foot) deep ravine late into the night, with recovery efforts set to resume on Monday.

"We have so far sent 63 bodies to the hospital," said police officer AK Chhetri on Monday.

"Due to fog, the search has been paused. We will continue the search after one or two hours when the weather clears."

There was no word on the fate of the five people still unaccounted for.

Debris from the twin-engine turboprop airliner was strewn across the crash site, including the mangled remains of its wings and passenger seats.

Rescue workers were rushed there after the crash, and tried to put out the raging fires that were sending thick black smoke into the sky.

There were 15 foreigners on board, including five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one passenger each from Argentina, Australia, France and Ireland, Yeti spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula told AFP.

The rest were Nepalis.

"Incredibly sad news out of Nepal of a plane crashing with many passengers on board," Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Monday, adding that his government was seeking information about the Australian national on board.

The ATR 72 was on a flight from the capital Kathmandu and plunged into the gorge between Pokhara's brand-new international airport and the old domestic one shortly before 11 am (0515 GMT) on Sunday.

"I was walking when I heard a loud blast, like a bomb went off," said witness Arun Tamu, 44, who was around 500 metres away and who livestreamed video of the blazing wreckage on social media.

"A few of us rushed to see if we can rescue anybody. I saw at least two women were breathing. The fire was getting very intense and it made it difficult for us to approach closer," the former soldier told AFP.

It was unclear if anyone on the ground was injured.

"Our first thoughts are with all the individuals affected by this," the plane's France-based manufacturer ATR said in a statement on Sunday.

"ATR specialists are fully engaged to support both the investigation and the customer."

Nepal's air industry has boomed in recent years, carrying goods and people between hard-to-reach areas, as well as ferrying foreign mountain climbers.

But it has been plagued by poor safety due to insufficient training and maintenance. The European Union has banned all Nepali carriers from its airspace over safety concerns.

Nepal also has some of the world's most remote and trickiest runways, flanked by snow-capped peaks with approaches that pose a challenge for even accomplished pilots.

The weather is also notoriously capricious and hard to forecast, particularly in the mountains, where thick fog can suddenly obscure whole mountains from view.

Nepal's deadliest aviation accident was in 1992, when all 167 people on a Pakistan International Airlines jet died when it crashed on approach to Kathmandu.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
March 20,2023

saudiking.jpg

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has favourably received an invitation from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to visit the kingdom following the reconciliation deal between the two countries, an Iranian official has said.

“In a letter to President Raisi … the King of Saudi Arabia welcomed the deal between the two brotherly countries [and] invited him to Riyadh,” tweeted Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian president’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, adding to this Sunday message that “Raisi welcomed the invitation”.

The two regional heavyweights announced on March 10 a Chinese-brokered deal to restore ties seven years after they were severed.

Riyadh cut relations after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in 2016 following the Saudi execution of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr – just one in a series of flashpoints between the two long-standing regional rivals.

The deal is expected to see Shia-majority Iran and mainly Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia reopen their embassies and missions within two months and implement security and economic cooperation deals signed more than 20 years ago.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told reporters on Sunday that the two countries had agreed to hold a meeting between their top diplomats.

He added that three locations for the talks had been suggested, without specifying where.

Al Jazeera’s Ali Hashem, reporting from Tehran, said that Amir-Abdollahian stressed “that both countries are exchanging technical teams to inspect the embassies in Tehran and Riyadh and see whether they’re ready for both missions to be deployed there”.

“The Iranians suggested, according to Amir-Abdollahian, three locations for the meeting. The exchange took place now through the Swiss embassy, and not through the Chinese. This could indicate that there are several channels between the Iranians and Saudis right now,” Hashem said.

The detente between Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, and Iran, strongly at odds with Western governments over its nuclear activities, has the potential to reshape relations across a region characterised by turbulence for decades.

Iran and Saudi Arabia support rival sides in several conflict zones – including Yemen, where the Houthi rebels are aligned with Tehran and where a military coalition supporting the government is led by Riyadh.

The two sides also vie for influence in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

A number of Gulf countries followed Riyadh’s action in 2016 and scaled back ties with Tehran, though the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait recently restored ties.

Amir-Abdollahian said Iran also hoped steps would be made to normalise its ties with Bahrain, a close Saudi ally that followed Riyadh in severing diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016.

In the past, Bahrain accused Iran of having trained and backed a Shia-led uprising in the Sunni-ruled kingdom in order to topple the Manama government. Tehran denies this.

“An agreement was reached two months ago for Iranian and Bahraini technical delegations to visit the embassies of the two countries. We hope that some obstacles between Iran and Bahrain will be removed and we will take basic steps to reopen the embassies,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

There was no immediate comment from Manama.

Bahrain, together with other Gulf Arab states, welcomed the agreement between Riyadh and Tehran to restore relations.

In September, Iran welcomed an Emirati ambassador after a six-year absence, and a month earlier it said Kuwait had sent its first ambassador to Tehran since 2016.

Iran’s top security official Ali Shamkhani also held talks with United Arab Emires President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi on Thursday in yet another sign of the shifting relations in the region. 

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
March 12,2023

fire.jpg

Mangaluru, Mar 12: As the heat wave has led to sporadic forest fires on the Western Ghats, the South Western Railway has formed a special team to monitor and douse such fires between Subrahmanya and Siribagilu of the Mangaluru - Bengaluru route.

On Saturday, a Mangaluru-Vijayapura train was stopped at Subrahmanya Road railway station due to a forest fire.

According to sources, six incidents of fire have been reported last three days. “Whenever a fire is reported near the track, the movement of the trains is stopped. We have deputed our men to the section to monitor the fire situation. Stationary watchmen have been deputed to all the sensitive areas up to Subrahmanya Road from Sakleshpur,” a source said. 

“On noticing fire near the track, a message was sent to the nearest station master. Immediately, a BFR wagon with a 10,000-litre capacity water tank proceeded to the place to douse the fire," it added. 

DCF Mangaluru Division Dr Dinesh Kumar Y K said that when he along with railway officials inspected forest areas near Siribagilu and Yedekumeri on March 8, railway officials revealed spotting a forest fire at Siribagilu which is likely to affect the movement of trains. 

“During the inspection, I suggested using jet pipes to douse the fire,” DCF said.

He said that the railway personnel are monitoring the forest fire and in case they come across a fire, they will spray water to prevent the spread along the track. 

On forest fires in other parts of the district, the DCF said that they are under control.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
March 18,2023

Rao.jpg

Udupi, Mar 18: A ghastly road mishap involving a truck and a car claimed the life of a lecturer of a private engineering college at Honnavar in Uttara Kannada district.  

The deceased is identified as Anantesha Rao (45). He is survived by wife Sripriya Anantesh, principal of a private college in Mangaluru and a son.

It is learnt that Rao’s car collided with a container truck at Honnavar when he was travelling to Sode Moola Mutt from Udupi. Rao died on the spot due to excessive bleeding. 

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.