Friday, 12 August, 2022
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Nepal plane crash: Officials recover black box from wreckage

Nepal plane crash: Officials recover black box from wreckage

The black box of a Tara Air plane that crashed in Nepal on Sunday has been recovered, civil aviation authorities have confirmed to the BBC.

Search teams first located the crash site on Monday. The remains of all 22 people onboard have been found since.

The plane was on a 20-minute flight when it lost contact with air traffic control five minutes before it was due to land.

Four Indians, two Germans and 16 Nepali passengers were on board the plane,

"[The] cockpit voice recorder, also known as [the] black box of the plane has been recovered from the crash site," Deo Chandra Lal Karna, spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority Nepal (CAAN) told BBC Nepali.

"We are preparing to airlift the black box to Kathmandu from a helicopter."

Local rescuer Indra Singh Sherchan said mountain guides and security officials had "cut out" the black box from the wreckage of the plane that was "stuck on the mountain cliff".

The plane - which was made by Canadian aircraft firm de Havilland - had departed the tourist town of Pokhara at around 0955 local time on Sunday (04:10 GMT). It was bound for Jomsom - a popular tourist and pilgrimage site.

The news sparked a frantic search for the plane and its passengers, which was frustrated by bad weather and mountainous terrain.
Ill-fated family vacation
The four Indian nationals have been identified as a family of two divorced parents and their two children, who were travelling together on a family vacation.

The Indian victims were from the city of Thane in Maharashtra state, according to BBC Marathi.

They have been identified as Ashok Tripathi, 54, his wife Vaibhavi Bandekar Tripathi, 51, and their son Dhanush and daughter Ritika Tripathi, 22 and 15 respectively.

"After the divorce, the family spends 10 days together as per the court order," senior police inspector Uttam Sonawane, who is familiar with the family, told BBC Marathi. "They go for holidays every year."

"They were all very happy about the Nepal tour," said Sagar Acharya, the tour manager of Nepalese company Kailash Vision Trek, which the family had engaged.

"We are sitting on the plane. We will call you when we reach there. [Those were] his last words."

Nepal has had a fraught record of aviation accidents, partly due to its sudden weather changes and airstrips located in hard-to-access rocky terrains.

Insufficient training and shoddy maintenance have also plagued its air safety record, prompting the European Union to ban the flights of all Nepalese airlines in its airspace.

In early 2018, a US-Bangla flight carrying 71 people from Dhaka in Bangladesh caught fire as it landed in Kathmandu, killing 51 people.

More recently, three people died in a plane crash in April 2019 when the aircraft veered off the runway and hit a stationary helicopter at Lukla Airport - considered one of the most tricky runways to navigate due to its strong winds and high altitude of 2,845m (9,333ft).