Nepal airport closed after plane skids off runway

Above, an airplane takes off at the international airport in Kathmandu on March 17, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2019
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Nepal airport closed after plane skids off runway

  • The country has a poor flight safety record and its airports are notoriously difficult to land in

KATMANDU: Nepal’s only international airport was closed Friday after a plane skidded off the recently repaired runway, injuring two people, officials said.
The country has a poor flight safety record — Nepali airlines are banned from European Union airspace — and its airports are notoriously difficult to land in.
The Yeti Airlines ATR 72-500, arriving into Katmandu from southern Nepal with 66 passengers, skidded about 15 meters into the grass.
“Our teams are working to remove the plane and reopen the airport,” the airport’s general manager Raj Kumar Chettri said.
Chettri said that removing the Franco-Italian-made turboprop plane was taking a long time because heavy rain has made the area muddy.
Authorities took 11 hours to remove a domestic aircraft that suffered a similar runway excursion in September last year, months after a Malaysian jet with 139 people on board had aborted its takeoff and skidded off the runway.
In March 2018, a US-Bangla Airways plane crashed near the airport, killing 51 people.
The Himalayan nation has some of the world’s most remote and tricky runways, flanked by snow-capped peaks with approaches that pose a challenge for even accomplished pilots.


Monsoon flooding death toll rises to 152 in South Asia

Updated 20 July 2019
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Monsoon flooding death toll rises to 152 in South Asia

  • At least 90 people have died in Nepal and 50 in northeastern India’s Assam state over the past week
  • South Asia’s monsoon rains, which hit the region from June to September, are crucial for the rain-fed crops planted during the season

GAUHATI, India: The death toll in monsoon flooding in South Asia has risen to 152 as millions of people and animals continue to face the brunt in three countries, officials said Saturday.
At least 90 people have died in Nepal and 50 in northeastern India’s Assam state over the past week. A dozen have been killed in Bangladesh.
Shiv Kumar, a government official in Assam, said 10 rare one-horned rhinos have died in Kaziranga National Park since the Brahmaputra River burst its banks, flooding the reserve.
Some 4.8 million people spread over 3,700 villages across the state are still affected by the floods, though the frequency of rains has decreased in the past 24 hours, the Assam Disaster Response Authority said. More than 2.5 million have also been hit by flooding in India’s Bihar state.
Amid the flooding, 20-year-old Imrana Khatoon delivered her first baby on a boat in floodwaters early Friday while on her way to a hospital in Assam’s flooded Gagalmari village, locals said. The woman and the newborn were brought back to their home without getting to the hospital.
Community health worker Parag Jyoti Das, who visited the family, said there were no post-delivery health complications. However, the mother and the child were moved to a hospital on a boat to the nearby town of Jhargaon because of unhygienic conditions due to floodwaters, Das said. The health center in Khatoon’s village was flooded and closed.
“I would have felt happier if the baby’s father was here,” said Khatoon, whose husband works in a hotel in the southern state of Kerala.
More than 147,000 people have taken shelter in 755 government-run camps across Assam, officials said.
Authorities warned they would take action against suppliers who were reported to be distributing poor quality rice and other essentials to marooned people and inmates of temporary shelters at some places.
“We have ordered the arrest of those unscrupulous elements supplying substandard materials and playing with the lives of the affected people,” said Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam’s finance minister.
In Nepal, the Home Ministry said about 36,728 families were affected by the monsoon rains. The flooding and mudslides forced some 13,000 families to flee their homes.
In at least two of Nepal’s districts, helicopters were used to transport emergency food supplies, while other transport means were being used to move tents and other supplies to the victims.
South Asia’s monsoon rains, which hit the region from June to September, are crucial for the rain-fed crops planted during the season.