Co-pilot of Nepal Airlines crash was pilot who flew for same airline

Co-pilot of Nepal Airlines crash was pilot who flew for same airline

The co-pilot of the Yeti Airlines flight that crashed in Nepal on Sunday was the widow of a pilot who flew for the same airline, and also died in a crash 16 years ago.

In 2010, Anju Khatiwada joined Yeti Airlines, following in the footsteps of her husband. Dipak Pokhrel also flew for the Nepali airline but died when a small passenger plane he was flying went down minutes before landing.

At least 68 people were killed in the Himalayan nation's deadliest plane accident in three decades in the co-pilot of the flight from Kathmandu that crashed as it approached the city of Pokhara on Sunday.

There are 72 people still on board, but no survivors have been found.

Her husband, Dipak Pokhrel, died in 2006 in a crash of a Twin Otter plane by Yeti Airlines in Jumla, airline spokeswoman Sudarshan Bartaula told Reuters that he was referring to Khatiwada. She got her pilot training with the money she got from the insurance after her husband's death. A pilot with more than 6,400 hours of flying time, Khatiwada had previously flown the popular tourist route from the capital, Kathmandu, to the country's second-largest city, Bartaula said.

The body of Kamal KC, the captain of the flight, who had more than 21,900 hours of flight time, has been recovered and identified.

Bartaula said that Kathiwada had not been identified but she is feared dead.

On Sunday she was flying the plane with an instructor pilot, which is the standard procedure of the airline, said a Yeti Airlines official who knew Khatiwada personally.

She was always ready to take up any duty, and had flown to Pokhara earlier, said the official who asked not to be named because he isn't allowed to speak to media.

The ATR 72 aircraft the Khatiwada was co-piloting rolled from side to side before crashing into a gorge near Pokhara airport and catching fire, according to eyewitness accounts and a video of the crash posted on social media.

The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder from the aircraft, which may help investigators determine what caused it to crash in clear weather, was recovered on Monday.

In Nepal, nearly 350 people have died in plane or helicopter crashes since 2000. The country is home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, including Everest, and sudden weather changes can make for hazardous conditions.