Thursday, 25 February 2016

Random Jottings Asia 2016 - Plane Crash, Nepal, February 2016

Another Plane Crash in Nepal.

Sadly the Jomsom plane has crashed. Its a daily flight from Pokhara to the Himalayan town, popular as a starting point for various treks in the Annapurna region. Every morning that familiar drone of the DeHaviland Twin Otter plane resonates across Pokhara usually around 7.15 climbing up towards Jomsom. Today's flight however was late and the weather for flying was questionable too! Here are my observations from the ground in Pokhara.

8 am: The weather is overcast, misty with poor horizontal visibility and although with the near hills outlined, the far hills are completely obscured. The top of Sarangkot is only just visible.

9 am: A significant deterioration in the weather with darker skies moving towards Sarangkot from the Jomsom area.

9.30 am: Most of Sarangkot is obscured in heavy dark clouds with the cloud base continually lowering towards Pokhara.

10 am: News is emerging of a plane crash about halfway between Pokhara and Jomsom.   A few spots of rain begin to fall.

1115 am: Steady rain is falling across Pokhara which is now enveloped with clouds and almost nil visibility.

1 pm: The first stretcher bearing helicopter heads towards the crash area as the weather clears.

The above image was taken from the top of Sarangkot a few days ago  and gives a good representation of the area and its terrain looking towards Jomsom. The aircraft flies parallel to the Annapurna mountains before making a right turn towards Jomsom with flight routing between mountains. This kind of operation is extremely hazardous in reduced forward visibility with little room for maneuver between the mountains.

According to the local press a top level investigation has been launched into the circumstances of the crash in which all 23 occupants of the plane perished.

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