Another sad day in the history of Nepal as yet another airplane crash claims 19 lives.

A Buddha Air mountain flight (which takes tourists from Kathmandu on a flip over the Everest area) was returning to Kathmandu on Sunday, 25 September, and crashed into a mountain at Kotdanda, some 20km outside of the city. Cloud cover was hanging low (they were returning halfway because the mountain views were obscured), and it appears the plane was flying too far east (probably to make room for the two other mountain-flight planes ahead of them). They seem to have flown too low, in order to fly below the cloud ceiling.

Eighteen of the people on board were killed in the crash, and a survivor died later in hospital. Among the deceased were 3 Nepalese crew members, an additional 3 Nepalese civilians, 10 Indian tourists, 2 American tourists and 1 Japanese tourist.

The investigations will confirm the exact cause of the crash, but it appears to be another case of Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT), of which there have been many in Nepal. Many have happened during the Monsoon season, and as a result of the plane flying into clouds. Below is a summary of the air disasters:

Date          Airline Equipment         Fatalities          Location
30-7-92      Thai Airbus310                      113               Langtang
30-9-92      Pakistan Airbus310                157               Lalitpur
31-8-97      Everest Do228                      18                 Bharatpur
24-8-93      Lumbini DHC-6                      18                Kaski
9-6-99        Lufthansa Boeing 727             5                  Kathmandu
5-10-98      Necon Air HS748                   15                Kathmandu
27-6-00      Nepal Air DHC-6                    25                Dadeldhura
22-9-02      Shangri La DHC-6                  18                Kaski
25-5-05      Yeti DHC-6                            3                  Lamjura
23-9-10      Shree Air MI-17                     24                Ghunsa
8-10-08      Yeti DHC-6                            18                Lukla
24-8-10      Agni Air Do-228                     14                Makwanpur
15-12-10    Tara Air DHC-6                      22                Okhaldhunga

Footage of the crash site from Nepal TV (note: may be disturbing for senstive viewers):


For more details and pictures, please see the following sources:

Once is not enough?

Buddha Air plane crashes at Lalitpur; all 19 on board killed

Dead bodies of Buddha Air crash victims recovered



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intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #4232 03 Oct 2011 06:50
No specific airline is at fault. The mountainous terrain in Nepal is the problem, especially when the clouds close in during flight. And its more the smaller planes that fly into the mountains, like the Lukla flight, that are a problem, than the bigger planes flying into Kathmandu. Considering the number of flights than go out to Lukla, the chances are still low that something will happen, but the risk is there. The risk is lower well outside of the monsoon season when cloud cover is less.
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #4227 01 Oct 2011 16:52
Is it not safe to fly to Kathmandu, or is it just a case of not going on Buddha Airlines? In the next 10 years or so I hope to do Everest Base Camp, it may be of relevance...