Nepalese Monsoon Claims Two Twin Otters

 - May 7, 2008, 6:21 AM

de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, Surkhet, Nepal, July 17, 2002–All four (including two crewmembers) aboard the Skyline Airways Twin Otter (9N-AGF) were killed when it crashed on approach to Surkhet Airport (SKH) at approximately 1422 local time. The aircraft had departed from Jumla Airport (JUM) at 1404 for the 60-mi, 25-min flight. Approximately 18 min into the flight, at an altitude of 6,500 ft, the aircraft crashed into trees on Gargare Danda hill in severe monsoon weather. The wreckage was found approximately six miles north of the village of Surkhet, approximately 312 mi west of Katmandu.

de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, Pokhara, Nepal, Aug. 22, 2002–Eighteen people died when the Shangri-La Air Twin Otter (9N-AFR) crashed on approach to Pokhara Airport (PKR), about 125 mi west of Katmandu. Local police reported all on board the privately owned domestic carrier’s aircraft died, including its three crewmembers. The wreckage was scattered in a mountainous area at an altitude of 4,600 ft, near the village of Dopahar, about three miles southeast of Pokhara. The mountain was completely shrouded in cloud following three days of constant monsoon rains.

Air traffic controllers said the aircraft was en route to Pokhara on a scheduled 25-min flight that originated at Jomson Airport (JMO), near a popular Hindu religious site. Ironically, the crash occurred almost exactly four years to the day (Aug. 21, 1998) after another Twin Otter crashed on the same route, also killing 18 people. ATC lost contact with 9N-AFR at 1015 local time when it was near the village of Kristi Nachne Chour, approximately three miles southwest of the airport.

The only victim name released by press time was that of B. Mishra, a Nepalese national who was one of the pilots.