Home Kathmandu Makalu plane plunges into river

Makalu plane plunges into river

Kathmandu/Humla, August 5, 2016: A single-engine aircraft belonging to Makalu Air made a forced landing in a river in Simikot on Thursday afternoon after it encountered an engine failure.

No casualty was reported.

The Cessna Caravan that took off for Surkhet from Simikot reported engine failure at 3:45pm and made a forced landing nine minutes after takeoff in Karnali River of Rauterana in the district, said Devendra KC, spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan). “There were no passengers on board the aircraft,” he added.

Captain Sange Lama and Co-pilot Prashant Shah, who have sustained minor injuries, have been airlifted to Simikot via a helicopter.

The plane with call sign 9N-AKC that was swept away downstream has crossed Kharpunath Temple in the area, locals said.

“We did try to fly back after we encountered some technical glitches, but in vain,” said Captain Lama.
Dan Bahadur Rawal, a sub-engineer at Decentralised Rural Infrastructure and Livelihood Project at Syagasya in Simikot, said the plane, which had taken off minutes earlier was spotted again and in no moment it spiralled down. “It looked like the plane’s engine had stopped working, and then we saw the crew members opening the door and jumping off the cockpit,” he said.

The plane was carrying cargo. As per a government decision taken in March, single-engine planes cannot fly passengers.

In March, the government issued a ban on single-engine aircraft from transporting humans following a crash-landing of Air Kasthamandap’s P-750 XSTOL plane on February 26, in which two pilots were killed.

Since the inception of air service in Humla, a total of 14 accidents have been recorded in the district. But nonetheless, human casualty in these accidents has been minimal.

According to Caan, there have been 101 big and small plane accidents in Nepal since 1955.

Single-engine aircraft have a history of more than 50 years in Nepal. There are five single-engine aircraft currently operating in Nepal. Goma Air and Makalu Air have two each and Kasthamandap Air has one.