Experience Of Pilots In Mid Air When The Earthquake Trembled The Nation
On April 25, BAe Jetstream 41 of Yeti Airlines (flight number 678) with pilot in command Capt. Labish Chand took off from Pokhara Airport that was enroute to kathmandu. The aircraft had just covered about 9 km distance. As regular procedure, Capt. Labish tried to contact Air Traffic Controller Tower (ATCT) of Pokhara Airport but no one responded him. Repeatedly, he tried to contact and at last someone responded to him in terrified voice, ‘ earthquake’ , ‘earthquake’! Don’t return back , Keep flying ! ‘
Hearing this, they kept flying to Kathmandu. They entered the valley, they were surprised when they had glance to the scenario of Kathmandu valley. Everywhere there were huddle of people, ground covered by dust and so on. Being Pilots, they tried to contact to ATC of Bhairahawa Airport but no one responded them. Finally, they took immediate decision to land at (Tribhuvan International Airport ) TIA and diverted towards it. One thing was roaming in their minds, ” if the runway is found to be cracked then what to do “. At the same time, two ATC’s of TIA ran away and there were no one inside the tower. Pilots tried to contact to tower but none responded due to which they kept the aircraft on hold for about 35 minutes. Passengers onboard were afraid and terrified. In meanwhile, a helicopter with registration 9N-AKF of Simrik Air informed them about the situation of runway and finally they landed successfully.
At the same time, another Jetstream 41 of Yeti Airlines was returning to Kathmandu with 27 passengers and 3 crew members on board. Capt. Sabina Shrestha was pilot in command. They were also told to be on hold for 45 minutes but Capt. Sabina landed the aircraft safely in her own risk. It has been reported that Capt. Sabina’s aircraft was the first to land at TIA after the earthquake trembled the whole nation.