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plane crash at lukla, nepal

5:38:13 PM
"Two Australians were among 18 people killed when a small plane crashed as it tried to land near Mount Everest today, an airport official said."

its very sad to hear, I hope anyone with connections to the people involved is ok, although so far the names have not been made public
7:30:02 PM
Shit shit shit, is there anywhere we can ring to get names?

Edit: Thought it was Cade & Matt (2 bluies guides) but apparently they got the same plane 2 days before and are fine. Would still like to hear who it is though!

8:30:01 PM
I've landed and taken off from there .. those pilots are great at their job, this is horrible news ... My thoughts go out to the friends and family
9:00:50 PM
The names of the Australian passengers have been released by Yeti Airlines as Mr A Frick and Ms C Kate.

Condolences to their families.


9:19:35 PM
"Press Release
8 October, 2008
Yeti Airlines' 9N AFE Twin Otter Aircraft met with a fatal accident today (8th October, 2008) at the Tenzing Hillary Airport in Lukla. The aircraft was trying to land when it met the unfortunate incident.
The aircraft took off from Kathmandu Airport at 6.51 am. It suffered the unfortunate fate at 7.31am, while trying to land at the Tenzing Hillary Airport resulting in the sad and unfortunate demise of 18 out of the 19 people in the aircraft. The lone survivor Captain Surendra Kunwar was immediately rescued and admitted to the Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj. He is reported to be out of danger.
According to the eye witnesses, the entire Airport region was suddenly covered with fog right after other two aircrafts (of Yeti) had landed successfully.
The crew included Capt. Surendra. Kunwar, Co-pilot Bikash Pant and Air Hostess Sunita Shrestha. Among the deceased are Co-Pilot Pant, Air Hostess Shrestha, 12 German, 2 Australian and 2 Nepalese Nationals.
A rescue party was sent immediately to Lukla. The injured Capt. Kunwar was rescued immediately and airlifted to the Teaching Hospital. The bodies of the deceased are also being brought to Kathmandu.
Yeti Airlines expresses heartfelt condolence to the friends and family of the deceased."
9:51:05 PM
Does anyone know the first names of these travellers?
10:54:49 PM
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said both of the Australians on the flight list were from Victoria but the department would not be releasing their names.

7:27:32 AM
Names released, info here:,23599,24469205-2,00.html

Very sad news indeed. Me, my wife, sister-in-law and her son were nearly killed in a Twin Otter incident in the Solomons a couple of years ago, and the sad thing is that these types of accidents are nearly always completely avoidable - a classic case of 'land-the-plane-itis'.
9:39:16 AM
easy captain....flying from Kathmandu to Lukla & the Lukla airport itself is not for the faint hearted. There are only ever very short windows of flying weather to get in & out of there. its a wild place.

9:46:48 AM
On 9/10/2008 james wrote:
>easy captain....flying from Kathmandu to Lukla & the Lukla airport itself
>is not for the faint hearted. There are only ever very short windows of
>flying weather to get in & out of there. its a wild place.
Which is even greater reason for pilots to be extra careful in extreme conditions (I have been a commercial pilot/flying instructor in a previous life and have had a decent plane prang myself). What happens (and is what exactly happened to us in the Solomons) is that the pilots are pushed by their companies and when things get extremely marginal (as it obviously was at Lukla with only 400m visibility) the pilot feels pressured to 'give it a go' rather than turn back, especially when they are so close to the destination.

10:00:40 AM
On the way out of Lukla my wife and i had to wait 2 days and because of the amount of people waiting we got put on different planes .. Jen got pulled off her seat and hearded to the plane with the others while the Airport guy was yelling about bad weather and to hurry up .... Very uncool to see her fly away into solid cloud a couple of hundred meters away... Those pilots are great at there job ..

I agree with James ..... Its a wild place alright.

10:08:22 AM
On 9/10/2008 Capt_mulch wrote:
>Names released, info here:
>Very sad news indeed. Me, my wife, sister-in-law and her son were nearly
>killed in a Twin Otter incident in the Solomons a couple of years ago,
>and the sad thing is that these types of accidents are nearly always completely
>avoidable - a classic case of 'land-the-plane-itis'.

Lukla airport is not easy to land in. There are steep mountains all around. It used to be unsealed but is sealed now atleast...

Regarding the Solomons, I've flown all over PNG and the pilots were extremely skilled, considering the staggering terrain they fly in. The government agency was on the ball for safety compliance (a bit unusual for the pacific, and I can't vouch for the Solomons next door). Mind you, there were two fatal crashes in my two years of living dangerously, one the plane flew into a mountain (clouds have rocks in them up there), in the other the pilot was recovering from a big night and mistakenly landed the wrong way down a one-way airstrip. Oh well!?

11:26:20 AM
On 9/10/2008 superstu wrote:
>...the pilots were extremely

This is not necessarily the main quality you want in a pilot. What really counts is the pilot's ability to make dispassionate decisions regardless of external pressures - as Capt_mulch says, often from the employer but, on charter flights, often directly from the hirer.

If you're ever on an aircraft and you hear a pilot say "conditions are marginal but my extreme skill will get us in there" you should be VERY worried.

5:17:46 PM
perhaps i used the wrong words... the pilots i flew with knew their stuff and generally were sensible about it all.. (i'd describe that as 'skilled' and 'professional' but anyway) it was all quite in contrast to the general run of things up there. There was quite a lot of telling the boss/tourist/pollie to get stuffed if conditions weren't right.

i understand lukla airport is notorious for limited flights and lots of impatient tourists vying for the few seats... dollars change hands and oops someone gets bumped and an a*hole american with a big wallet is suddenly on his way back home for that boardroom meeting he can't possibly miss

my recommendation to anybody heading up that way, walk in from Jiri and walk out that way too. It's a fantastic walk, quite a contrast to the higher Khumbu, the folks are friendly and need your business, and you'll acclimitise sooo much better on the way up than flying in.

9:18:57 PM
First of all condolences to the families all those including of the 2 young Australians killed. Tragic and very sad to hear this.

I did this flight 2.5 years ago and have about 200 hours with a private pilot's license. When I did the flight I made sure I was seated right behind the pilot and co-pilot with whom I spent most of the 45 mins of the flight talking to - both had trained in OZ as part of their careers and were very keen to have a chat about flying, training, tecniques etc.

So my 2 cents worth - The flight is totally done in VMC conditions (i.e. visual flying without instruments - it's too dangerous there and the equipment does not exist) and without a GPS. When we began our approach one of the things I asked was "what is your going around point?" ie. when can you abort the landing? The response was a small river bed a few hundered meters before the runway threshold. It's very marginal. I can tell you my impressions were that the pilots are very professional, will do this flight several times per day when flying but it's also a very committing landing - very much like landing in a navy carrier.

My humble impressions were that once you committed to land there you have to land and going around is very difficult. So something like fast moving fog could easily have disrupted their view and have occured before they could go around again - so no other option but to try and land.

The video I have of the entire approach and landing is too big to load on FLICKR (bummer - as it shows that's it's like a jet landing on a navy carrier) but here is a link for a shot of the runway and area just before they usually turn on final. You can see - mountains everywhere!

11:19:35 AM
Good shot JohnK, shows how isolated the runway is amongst high ground. A go around looks marginal. I've got about the same hours as you, mostly in gliders but also RA licence in Jabirus. One of the accounts mentioned 400m visibility which would be below the minima for a VFR approach in Oz.

I feel really sorry for the people who died in this accident. I think the public often aren't well enough informed of how risky these flights are. I think I'd rather do the walk up there as recommended above.

11:20:28 AM
By the way JohnK, that camera I bought off you is still going strong! Good buy.
1:24:57 PM
On 10/10/2008 tnd wrote:
>By the way JohnK, that camera I bought off you is still going strong! Good

G'day Niall,

good to hear the S80 is going strong! Awsome camera I reckon and super sharp lens - good to hear

2:24:24 PM
It was even used for a Chockstone Pic of the Week -

7:49:10 PM
my friends father was on the plane just before the one that crashed. A few heart palpatations when I heard the news.

My condolences to the families of those that lost their lives

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