Nepalese aviation officials are saying pilot error is the likely cause of a tragic plane crash that killed 19 trekkers bound for Mount Everest on Friday.
As we reported yesterday, the aircraft, a twin-propeller Sita Air plane, had just taken off from Kathmandu and was en route to the town of Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest, when it plunged into the banks of a river near the city’s airport and exploded into a fireball, killing a total of 19 tourists and crew members aboard.
Following the tragic accident, crash investigators initially believed that a vulture, with a wingspan of up to 10ft, smashing into one of the plane’s propellers, caused the plane to go down.
However, officials are now saying that errors made by the pilot during the flight are actually to blame.
“The preliminary finding of the Civil Aviation Authority notices unusual maneuvering during the take-off and the pilot communicated to air traffic control the aircraft was hit by a bird,” Suresh Acharya of Nepal’s aviation ministry said. “But a plane crash does not occur simply just because its engine was hit by a bird.”
Acharya went on to say that the pilot’s failure to maintain the required radius is a likely cause of the accident.
“The pilot may have been panic-stricken, made a steep narrow turn instead of forming a wider radius required to bring the malfunctioning aircraft back to the runway”.
According to Sky News, police have handed over the plane’s black box data recorder to authorities investigating the disaster.
The UK’s Telegraph has more on the tragic Nepal plane crash in the video below: