Pokhara remembers victims on first anniversary of Yeti plane crash

Bijay Nepal 15 Jan 2024
Pokhara remembers victims on first anniversary of Yeti plane crash

POKHARA: On the first anniversary of the tragic Yeti Airlines crash in Pokhara, people who lost their near and dear ones in the accident gathered at the crash site near Seti River gorge to offer prayers for the eternal peace of the departed souls. A memorial bearing the names of the 57 Nepalis and 15 foreigners, who perished in the accident, now stands at the site.

Dhanaraj Acharya, the Mayor of Pokhara Metropolitan City, unveiled the memorial on Monday. He also expressed commitment to build a suspension bridge over the gorge and a park at the crash site.

The memorial serves as a reminder of the tragic incident on January 15 last year, minutes before the ATR-72 aircraft was scheduled to land at the newly built Pokhara International Airport. The airport was inaugurated on January 1.

The Yeti Air crash marked the first accident involving an ATR 72-500 series aircraft in Nepal’s aviation history and remains the largest accident involving domestic carriers in Nepali airspace. An aircraft investigation committee formed by the government attributed the accident to human error. However, the incident continues to cast a somber shadow over the families and relatives of the deceased.

Pratibha Adhikari, the widow of journalist Tribhuvan Paudel, who lost his life in the crash, still grapples with the grief. She spends her days looking at their five-year-old son. On the first death anniversary of Paudel and Anil Shahi, another journalist on the ill-fated flight, the Kaski Chapter of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists organized a memorial in Pokhara.

Ashok Shahi, father of Anil Shahi, recalled that he learned about the accident from a Facebook post while he was in Canada. “I still hope that my son might return,” he added.

Anil was operating Radio Apostle in Pokhara.

Jamuna Basnet, a local resident who lives near the crash site, vividly remembers the day of the crash. “I don’t know what to do as I was with my children,” she shared.

Jashoda Regmi, the spokesperson for Pokhara International Airport, said that despite initial concerns, passengers seem to have regained confidence as the investigation has attributed the incident to human error.

While the airport has yet to see any scheduled international flights, it recorded a movement of 904,000 passengers in its first year of operation.

“The tragic accident, which occurred when the tourism industry of Pokhara was just trying to rise from the setback of COVID, hit the tourism industry very hard. It is gradually coming back on track,” said Pom Narayan Shreshta, the chairman of Pokhara Tourism Council.


Published On: 15 Jan 2024


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