AGNI AIR CRASH Another Probe

The five-member probe commission constituted to look into Agni Air plane crash seems to be just as another ritual<br>A CORRESSPONDENT

Sept. 8, 2010, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.: 4 No.-07 September 3-16, 2010 (Bhadra 18, 2067)

Less than 24 hours after the fatal air crash of Agni Air’s Dornier Aircraft, the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation constituted an inquiry commission on it. Unlike in the past, the ministry included no government attorney in the commission.

The five-member probe committee was formed under the coordination of aviation expert Kumar Prasad Upadhyaya. The probe panel includes Suresh Acharya, Rajan Pokharel, Sarada Bhakta Rajbhandari and Rajendra Man Shakya as the members. The committee has been directed to submit its report within 65 days.

“Any inquiry commission like this needs to have the presence of lawyers whose basic duty is to conduct the systematic investigation on such matters,” said a senior government official at the Ministry of Law.

Agni Air’s Dornier Do 228-101 9N-AHE crashed after the crew decided to return and to divert to Simara Airport (VNSI) due to poor weather conditions in Kathmandu. The plane was returning from Lukla. Although the cause of the crash is in the process of investigation, news reports indicate that the airplane suffered a generator failure and ATC contact was lost around 7:30 am LT on August 24.   

The crash site is located at a hillside near Bastipur (Shikharpur VDC, Narayani Zone of Makwanpur District), about 18nm south-south-west of Kathmandu and at an altitude of 9,000 ft. The German made plane took its flight in 1984. The plane was in approaching phase at the time of crash.

The first air crash in Nepal took place on 7 May 1946 of a Douglas C-47A20 DK Dakota C.3 RAF in Simara Airport and there was no casualty. According to the data base of Air Safety Asia, there are 39 airplane crashes recorded for Nepal.

All of the 14 people traveling on a small Agni Air jet heading for Lukla, a popular trekking spot in eastern Nepal for Mt Everest, were killed on Tuesday when the plane crashed in bad weather near the capital. On board were a British man, a Japanese traveler and 4 Americans, as well as 8 Nepalis – 3 of which were crew.

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