Nepal plane crash: Aircraft earlier owned by Kingfisher Airlines, says Cirium Fleets Data

A picture of the plane that crashed in Pokhara, Nepal.
Image source: AP A picture of the plane that crashed in Pokhara, Nepal.

The Nepalese passenger plane, which crashed into a river gorge with 72 people on board on Sunday, was earlier used by Kingfisher Airlines, owned by liquor baron Vijay Mallya. Yeti Airlines 9N-ANC ATR-72 aircraft took off from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport at 10:33 am on Sunday and crashed on the banks of the Seti river between the old airport and the new airport in Pokhara minutes before landing.

At least 68 people, including five Indians, have been confirmed dead in the accident. The aircraft was delivered to the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines in 2007, according to Cerium Fleets data that tracks aircraft fleet, equipment and their value. Six years later in 2013, this aircraft was bought by Nok Air of Thailand, after which it was bought. Sold to Yeti Airlines of Nepal in 2019.

This was the first instance of an accident involving such a model in Nepal’s tumultuous aviation history. The ATR-72 is a twin-engine turboprop, short-haul regional airliner developed in France and Italy by the aircraft manufacturer ATR. ATR is a joint venture between French aerospace company Aerospatiale and Italian aviation group Aeritalia.

The number ’72’ in its name is derived from the aircraft’s typical standard seating capacity of 72 passengers. Currently, only Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines operate ATR-72 aircraft in Nepal. According to pilots and an aircraft accident investigation expert, the fatal plane crash in Nepal could have been caused by mishandling, aircraft system malfunction or pilot fatigue. He said that the exact cause of the accident would be known only after a detailed investigation.

According to video clips on social media purportedly showing the plane’s trajectory seconds before it crashed, it was clear that the sky was clear and the weather was not bad.

(With inputs from PTI)

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