This may be another blow to travel and tourism to Nepal. A Tara Air Twin Otter passenger aircraft taking trekkers and tourists on Wednesday on an adventure mountain climbing mission traveling on a domestic flight from Pokhar to Jomsom in Nepal has been found at Soli Ghoptebhir in Myagdi. It was carrying 23 passengers and crew. Local police state that there are no survivors.
The crash of a Tara Air Twin Otter on a Pokhara-Jomsom flight on Wednesday morning carrying 23 passengers and crew couldn’t have come at a worse time for the airline and for Nepal.
Just two weeks ago, Tara Air had received the IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA) certification after safety audits. Stricter safety regulations by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) had started yielding results and there hasn’t been a fatal crash of a regular flight since February 2014.
It also comes at the start of the spring trekking season in the Himalaya and when Nepal’s tourism industry was just recovering from last April’s earthquake and the Indian blockade.
The enroute terrain is one of the most challenging in the world and passes along the Kali Gandaki gorge between two eight-thousand metre peaks, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna.
The Twin Otter DHC-6 400 series with registration 9N-AHH took off at 8:15 AM from Pokhara and weather was reported to be good at both ends.
The passenger manifest has two foreigners among the passengers, one Chinese and one Kuwaiti national, and the plane was piloted by Capt Roshan Manandhar a veteran flier who was just six months short of retirement.
Before this, Nepal’s domestic aviation had suffered nine accidents involving more than 120 fatalities in the last ten years. Although it will take time to determine Although it will take time to determine what caused this latest crash, previous causes have been plane hitting mountains in cloud, by overloading, or a combination of weather and mechanical issues.
ince some of the crashes were on tourist routes, the European Union blacklisted Nepal’s airlines in 2013, requiring travel agents to inform passengers and raising insurance premiums. The EU Air Safety Committee had kept Nepal on the blacklist despite a marked improvement in aviation safety in the past three years.
This month, Yeti Airlines and its subsidiary Tara Air got the ISSA certification which is awarded to smaller operators after audits find that they comply with global safety standards.