A Yeti Airlines ATR 72-500 turboprop suffered a serious accident on Sunday near Pokhara International Airport, in Nepal. The aircraft registered 9N-ANC had taken off from Kathmandu with 68 passengers and four crew for flight YT691.
Video shared on social media shows the plane at low altitude, already with the landing gear down as it banked sharply to the left before crashing over an inhabited area.
Authorities said at least 68 people died in the crash in what is the worst accident in three decades in the Asian country. According to Nepali media reports, the pilot requested a landing change from runway 30 to runway 12.
Pokhara International Airport opened on January 1, 2023, receiving flights that previously operated from the old city airport, located northwest of the new air terminal.
That would have been the first landing for a YT691 flight on runway 12, according to the Aviation Safety Network.
The 15.5-year-old ATR 72-500 is one of six operated by Yeti Airlines. It was received in 2019 after flying by Kingfisher AIrlines (India) and Nok Air (Thailand), leased by the company Investec, which passed it on to Yeti.
— Ananya Bhattacharya (@ananya116) January 15, 2023
Aircraft manufacturer, ATR stated that “it has been informed that an accident occurred in Nepal involving an ATR 72-500. Our first thoughts are with all the individuals affected by this. The ATR specialists are fully engaged to support both the investigation and the customer.”
The last serious accident with a Yeti Airlines plane had occurred in 2008 when a DHC-6 Twin Otter turboprop crashed near Lukha Airport after a failed approach. Of the 18 occupants only one of the pilots survived.