Nepal Plane Crash: Pokhara Airport Constructed With Chinese Assistance Was Unveiled 2 Weeks Ago

Nepal Plane Crash: Pokhara Airport Constructed With Chinese Assistance Was Unveiled 2 Weeks Ago

The Pokhara International Airport, which saw the catastrophic crash of a Nepalese passenger jet with 72 passengers on board on Sunday, was inaugurated two weeks ago by Nepal’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and built with Chinese support, news agency PTI reported.

The airport was formally opened on January 1, 2023, against the background of the beautiful Annapurna Mountain Range.

The flagship project was part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) collaboration.

According to the Kathmandu Post newspaper, the Nepal government inked a USD 215.96 million soft credit arrangement with China in March 2016 for the development of the airport in this tourist destination.

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During a goodwill trip in Baluwatar last year, former Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi handed over the Pokhara Regional International Airport to then-Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

Prachanda stated during the airport’s inaugural ceremony that airborne connection is the most effective mode of connectivity for a landlocked country like Nepal.

“With the opening of this airport, Pokhara’s relationship with the international region has been established,” he was quoted by PTI in its report.

The Yeti Airlines jet crashed on the bank of the Seti River between the old and new airports while arriving at Pokhara airport about 11 a.m. on Sunday.

There were 68 passengers and four crew members on board.

There were five Indians among the passengers.

According to The Himalayan Times, at least 32 bodies have been discovered from the crash site.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) granted clearance for the jet to land, according to MyRepublica newspaper.

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“Weather was not a problem, preliminary information has been received that the plane crashed due to technical reasons. Information has been received that flames were seen in the plane while it was still air-borne,” Gyanendra Bhul, information officer at CANN, was quoted as saying in the report.

“The plane would have reached the runway in 10 seconds. However, it met with an accident mid-way,” the airport’s air traffic controller told MyRepublica newspaper.

The Nepal government on Sunday constituted a five-member commission of inquiry to investigate the plane crash. 

(With Inputs From PTI)