New Delhi: Anju Khatiwada, the co-pilot onboard the ill-fated Yeti Airlines ATR-72 carrying 72 passengers, which crashed in Pokhara, Nepal, was just seconds away from realising her dream of becoming a captain. She lost her life and her dreams just as they were about to come true, in a fate that was eerily identical to that of her late husband, Deepak Pokhrel.
Senior Captain Kamal KC was captaining the aircraft while Anju served as his co-pilot. On Sunday, the plane went down in a forest near the Seti River, which runs between the old domestic airport and Pokhra International Airport. 72 passengers were on board the passenger aircraft for the 27-minute ride.
6 children and 15 foreign passengers were on board. 53 Nepalis, 5 Indians, 4 Russians, 2 Koreans, 1 Argentinian, and one each from Ireland, Australia, and France were on board, according to a statement from the airlines.
It should be mentioned that at least 100 hours of flight time are required to become a pilot. Anju, the co-pilot, had previously made successful landings in practically all of Nepal’s airports.
Anju was on her way to receiving a chief pilot’s licence on Sunday after a safe landing. Anju’s aspirations, however, came crashing down as the flight met with a deadly accident just 10 seconds from her destination.
Coincidentally, Anju had lost her husband 16 years earlier on June 21, 2006, in a similar plane tragedy. Her husband also worked for Yeti Airlines as a co-pilot. Back in 2000, a Yeti Airlines 9N AEQ aircraft that was travelling from Nepalganj to Jumla via Surkhet crashed, killing 6 passengers, 4 crew members, and Anju’s husband.
The Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia offered his sympathies for the disaster on Sunday. “The loss of lives in a tragic plane crash in Nepal is extremely unfortunate. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the bereaved. Om Shanti,” he tweeted.