At the least 69 of the 72 passengers onboard Yeti Airways flight 691 died when the airplane crashed in Nepal on Sunday. That is the nation’s third deadliest aviation catastrophe within the final three many years. The airplane was flying from Kathmandu, the capital, to Pokhara, a well-known vacationer vacation spot, and crashed close to Pokhara worldwide airport.
Within the final three many years, 52 flights have crashed in Nepal. The nation ranks 33 out of the 207 international locations ordered primarily based on the variety of airplane crashes between 1990 and 2023 (Chart 1) . With 1,578 airplane crashes, the U.S. leads the checklist, adopted by Russia (464) and Canada (369). India ranks 13, with 99 crashes within the interval.
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The variety of deaths as a result of airplane crashes is notoriously excessive within the mountainous nation. If we embody the crash on Sunday, 720 lives have been misplaced in such incidents in Nepal between 1990 and 2023 (Chart 2). Nepal ranks 12 out of the 207 international locations ordered primarily based on fatalities in the identical interval. The U.S. leads the checklist with 5,445 deaths, adopted by Russia (2,730) and Indonesia (2,171). India ranks 7, with 1,020 deaths within the interval.
The U.S. leads each the variety of airplane crashes and fatalities by a large margin as a result of air visitors within the nation is way greater than in different international locations. A comparability between air visitors and crash-related fatalities is critical to know whether or not deaths in Nepal are disproportionately greater than its air visitors.
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Chart 3 depicts the variety of fatalities in air crashes in opposition to departures by air carriers registered in a rustic between 1990 and 2023. For example, air carriers registered within the U.S. recorded 324 million departures within the interval, the very best amongst all international locations by a large margin. This was adopted by Chinese language carriers — 57 million. These figures are plotted within the horizontal axis of Chart 3. The farther to the best a dot (representing a rustic), the extra the variety of departures. The variety of departures by air carriers registered in a rustic is an effective proxy measure for air visitors within the nation.
Fatalities in airplane crashes are plotted within the vertical axis of Chart 3. The upper a dot on the chart, the extra the variety of fatalities. Nepal belongs to a set of nations the place air visitors is comparatively low however fatalities are comparatively excessive. Different international locations on this lot embody Nigeria, Pakistan, Angola and Sri Lanka. Within the interval thought of in Nepal, the variety of departures was 0.9 million, whereas fatalities had been 720. As compared, over Kuwait, there have been solely three such fatalities within the interval thought of, whereas departures had been 0.85 million. In 59 international locations, the variety of departures was greater than in Nepal, however the variety of fatalities was decrease. For example, Irish carriers recorded 12 million departures with simply 10 fatalities.
Yeti Airways recorded six air crashes within the final three many years with 99 fatalities. Tara Air, its subsidiary, additionally recorded six incidents with 67 fatalities. Collectively, they account for the very best variety of crashes and fatalities by any Nepali provider (Chart 4).
Whereas the explanations for particular person accidents differ, “most aviation accidents in Nepal between 1952-2022 had been brought on by planes flying into mountains hidden in clouds, often known as Managed Flight into Terrain with fatalities as excessive as 92%,” writes Kunda Dixit in Nepali Occasions . Additionally, within the Worldwide Civil Aviation Group’s Common Security Oversight Audit Programme performed between 2016 and 2018, Nepal scored solely 21.6% on the accident investigation parameter, which is far decrease than the worldwide common of 54.2%. A poor file in accident investigation exhibits that the suggestions mechanism is damaged, making it troublesome to be taught from errors.