Nepal plane crash: Co-pilot Anju Khatiwada’s husband died in similar 2006 crash flying for same airline

Nepal plane crash: Co-pilot Anju Khatiwada’s husband died in similar 2006 crash flying for same airline
Anju Khatiwada is believed to have not survived the Nepal plane crash (Kapil Nath Sharma/Facebook)

KATHMANDU, NEPAL: The female co-pilot of the passenger aircraft that crashed into a gorge in Nepal on Sunday, January 15 was reportedly the widow of a pilot who died in a similar plane crash 17 years ago.

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Anju Khatiwada, 44, is feared to have died after the Yeti Airlines aircraft she was co-piloting crashed into a cliff, broke into pieces, and caught fire as it neared Pokhara on Sunday morning. Khatiwada joined Nepal's Yeti Airlines in 2010, following in the footsteps of her husband, Dipak Pokhrel. Pokhrel tragically died in a similar plane crash in 2006 when a small passenger plane he was flying for the same airline crashed minutes before landing.

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Khatiwada was able to pay for her flying training with the insurance money she received after Pokhrel's tragic death. "Her husband, Dipak Pokhrel, died in 2006 in a crash of a Twin Otter plane of Yeti Airlines in Jumla," airline spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula told Reuters, according to Daily Mail. "She got her pilot training with the money she got from the insurance after her husband's death."

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Bartaula further stated that Anju Khatiwada had more than 6,400 hours of flying time, and had previously flown the route. "Kathiwada's remains have not been identified but she is feared dead,” he continued. "On Sunday, she was flying the plane with an instructor pilot, which is the standard procedure of the airline, she was always ready to take up any duty and had flown to Pokhara earlier."



 

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The spokesperson also claimed that the body of Kamal KC, the captain of the flight, has been recovered and identified by the officials. The captain reportedly had more than 21,900 hours of flight time. Kamal’s horrific death came after the ATR-72 aircraft that he was co-piloting with Khatiwada rolled from side to side before crashing in a gorge near Pokhara airport and catching fire. Officials believe that all the 72 people, including 68 passengers and four crew members, on board the flight have died in Nepal's worst aviation disaster since 1992.



 

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The authorities have launched an investigation and have recovered the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder from the aircraft, which can help them determine what caused it to crash in clear weather. Nepali Publication The Kathmandu Post quoted Jagannath Niraula, spokesperson of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, as saying that the black box had been handed over to the Nepal Army and would be submitted to an investigating team in Kathmandu on January 16.

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