Indian plane arrives to remove Turkish jet from Kathmandu airport

Kathmandu: India on Thursday rushed experts and an Air Force transport plane with equipment to Nepal to remove a Turkish Airliner that skidded off the runway here yesterday, forcing closure of the country's only international airport for two days, stranding thousands of passengers.

Turkish Airlines and the Nepalese government had yesterday requested the Indian Air Force to send its aircraft to remove the Turkish Airliner Airbus A-330, for resumption of international flights in and out of the country's capital.

An Indian Air Force aircraft and Nepalese rescue workers are seen at the site where a Turkish Airlines plane slid off the tarmac at Kathmandu international airport on March 5, 2015.

An Indian Air Force aircraft and Nepalese rescue workers are seen at the site where a Turkish Airlines plane slid off the tarmac at Kathmandu international airport on Thursday. Pic/PTI

The Turkish jet with 224 passengers and 11 crew members onboard - had to be evacuated after it skidded off the runway and veered onto the grassy shoulder during landing at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) yesterday morning.

All the passengers and crew were unhurt, though part of the wing of the crashed jetliner fell on the runway, blocking movement of other aircraft. 

The Indian Airforce C-130J Super Hercules landed here this afternoon and experts have already begun the removal operation of the Turkish Airliner from the runway, an airport official said, adding, the removal operation is expected to finish by tomorrow morning.

Thousands of passengers and tourists remained stranded at the TIA as flights were cancelled for the second consecutive day, affecting the upcoming tourist season, one of the main source of forex for the Himalayan nation.

All the international flights at TIA have been suspended till tomorrow morning as it may take longer to remove the
aircraft, said a press release issued by the airport authorities.

Nepal's high altitude and tricky runways that often suffer from foggy conditions and poor visibility pose a challenge to even the most accomplished of pilots and had been blamed for a string of aircraft crashes in the past.

The European Union had banned all Nepal-based airlines in December 2013 from flying to the 28-nation bloc, citing poor safety standards followed by the airlines in Nepal.

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