Govt forms a four-members panel to probe Air Dynasty Helicopter crash

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-KATHMANDU

The Nepal Government today formed a four-member commission to investigate into Wednesday’s fatal crash of an Air Dynasty helicopter in Taplejung in which seven people including Honorable Minister Rabindra Adhikari, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), the Managing Director of Yeti Airlines, Himalayan Airlines & Air Dynasty, the Deputy Director-General of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Under Secretary of PM’s office, CAAN Engineer and a Security personnel crashed into a hillside shortly after takeoff and all seven occupants died.

The commission, led by former tourism secretary Yagya Prasad Gautam, has been assigned to investigate into the catastrophic accident.

Nepalese Army Brigadier General Deepak Prasad Bastola, Captain Pramod Lama and Tourism Minister’s Joint Secretary Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane have been designated members of the committee. The investigation will be framed and put into action as per the reference derived from ICAO Annex-13 Accident Investigation and Civil Aviation Act (Accident Investigation) 2071 Chapter 10.

Minister for Education Giriraj Mani Pokharel informed that the committee has been directed to submit its report as soon as possible, identifying causes of the crash and suggesting recommendations to avoid such incidents in the future.

Seven people on board the ill-fated helicopter, piloted by Captain Prabhakar KC, lost their lives in the crash in Tapejung area. The helicopter was returning to Kathmandu after the inspection of the possibility of construction of an airport in Chuhandanda of Terathum followed by a brief visit to the popular Hindu temple Pathibhara with a group of 6 delegates along with Minister Adhikari.

A single-engine helicopter of Air Dynasty AS350 B3e Airbus manufactured with call sign ‘9N-AMI’ had departed Kathmandu at 8:30 AM. It crashed in the hilly area at around 1:30 p.m. local time, just a few minutes after taking off from the temple. The aircraft was engulfed with flames following the crash.

Nepal has a booming private helicopter industry, flying tourists and goods to remote corners of the Himalayan Kingdom where road access is limited or non-existent.

There were multiple helicopter accidents, claiming over a dozen lives, in the wake of a powerful 2015 earthquake when choppers were used to rescue the injured and deliver aid to communities cut off by the disaster.

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