According to reports, the co-pilot of the doomed flight that crashed in Nepal on Sunday had lost her husband in another plane crash 16 years earlier.
Co-pilot Anju Khatiwada lost their lives along with everyone else on Yeti Airlines Flight 691 when it crashed into a gorge close to the popular tourist destination of Pokhara.
Her late husband, co-pilot on a Yeti Airlines flight, was the inspiration for Anju to follow in his footsteps and become a pilot herself.
As Anju mourned her husband’s death while caring for their young child, she found that her sorrow gave her strength.
A relative, Santosh Sharma, described her as “a determined woman who stood for her dreams and fulfilled the dreams of her husband.”
In June of 2006, Dipak was the pilot of a Twin Otter prop plane that crashed and burned while en route from the capital of Kathmandu to the western town of Jumla. All nine people on board were killed.
After four long years, Anju had finally begun training to become a pilot in the United States. After finishing her training, she started working for Yeti Airlines.
Anju was a trailblazer in that she was one of only six women pilots for the airline, and she held a record of nearly 6,400 hours in the air.
According to Yeti Airlines’ Sudarshan Bartaula, “she was a full captain at the airline who had done solo flights.” She was an extremely courageous female.
Anju had a second child after she remarried, and she also advanced her career during that time. She was a joy to be around, say her friends and family, and she clearly enjoyed her work. It’s tragic enough that she and her first husband both met their ends in this manner.
Pieces of the plane Anju was co-piloting lay strewn along the banks of the River Seti at the crash site in Pokhara. Part of the plane had crashed into the gorge, but the windows were still intact and the Yeti Airlines colours of green and yellow were still legible.
There have been hundreds of fatal air accidents in the Himalayan country in the last several decades, and this week’s tragedy has rekindled a discussion about airline safety.
Many factors have contributed to the poor safety record of Nepalese airlines over the years. Reasons given for this include the difficulty of navigating mountainous terrain and the erratic nature of the weather. Others, however, blame antiquated planes, lax regulations, and inadequate oversight.
The cause of the crash on Sunday is still unknown.
Who perished in the Nepal plane crash?
A passenger from India caught the crash of a Nepalese plane on camera.
Families of the victims waited outside a Pokhara hospital for the release of their loved ones’ bodies following postmortem examinations.
Bhimsen Ban, shivering in the January air, expressed his desire to return his friend Nira to her village for the performance of her last rites.
Nira Chantyal, a singer in her 20s, frequently flew with Yeti Airlines. The middle class has found that low-cost airlines are a convenient and inexpensive way to get around the country, despite its mountainous terrain.
Nira, a recent transplant to Kathmandu, was on board en route to a performance at a festival in Pokhara.
“She had a great deal of artistic ability and often performed traditional folk songs. She had an impromptu singing habit, “Cry-eyed Bhimsen said.
There are no words to express how much this has hurt.