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Home » Husband of Nepal Co-Pilot Also Lost His Life in Plane Crash 16 Years Ago

Husband of Nepal Co-Pilot Also Lost His Life in Plane Crash 16 Years Ago

17 January 2023, Tuesday
Anju Khatiwada, the co-pilot of the disastrous flight that crashed in Nepal on Sunday, had experienced a plane crash during her life before this incident – her husband passed away in a plane crash sixteen years prior. In the country's most fatal air disaster in 30 years, Flight 691 from Yeti Airlines crashed into a valley near the popular tourist destination, Pokhara, resulting in the death of all the passengers on board.

Anju Pokhrel was a determined woman who followed her dreams and fulfilled those of her husband, Dipak Pokhrel. She was inspired to pursue a career in aviation after his tragic death in a Yeti Airlines flight he was co-piloting. Grief-stricken and alone with their young child, Anju used her loss as a source of motivation. Her family spoke highly of her commitment and dedication to her dream, with one relative, Santosh Sharma, saying: "She was a determined woman who stood for her dreams and fulfilled the dreams of her husband."

In June 2006, Dipak had been on a Twin Otter prop plane, flying rice and food to the western town of Jumla, when calamity struck. The plane came down and caught fire, claiming the lives of everyone on board.

Four years later, Anju was undeterred in her pursuit of becoming a pilot; despite facing a number of difficulties, she endured and made it to the US for training. Having eventually qualified, she eventually joined Yeti Airlines - and she was one of only six female aviators employed by the company. Throughout her time there, Anju had amassed a total of over 6,400 hours worth of flight experience.

Sudarshan Bartaula from Yeti Airlines commented on Anju, who had been a full captain at the airline and had flown solo before: She was a brave woman. After her first husband passed away, Anju remarried and had another child as she continued her successful career in aviation. People close to her described her as a passionate and beloved individual and expressed deep sorrow that she and her first partner had both passed away in such a manner.

At the wreckage of the aircraft Anju had been co-piloting, parts of the plane lay scattered on the banks of the River Seti in Pokhara, looking for all the world like pieces of a broken toy. One portion could be seen perched on the gorge, windows still whole, the Yeti Airlines livery of green and yellow still visible.

The sad event has sparked a discussion about air safety in Nepal, a nation which has seen hundreds of people lose their lives in air accidents in recent times.

Outside the hospital in Pokhara, families of those who had passed away were gathered waiting for the release of the bodies of their loved ones after their postmortems had been completed.

The cold January air was biting, but Bhimsen Ban was still there in hope that he could take his friend Nira back to her village to perform her last rites.

Nira Chantyal, aged 21, was a talented singer who frequently flew with Yeti Airlines for her performances all over the nation. Flying with this low cost air carrier became a popular option for Nepal's middle class, allowing them to easily move from one part of the mountainous country to another.

On this particular occasion, Nira had been traveling from Kathmandu to Pokhara to take part in a music festival.

Bhimsen voiced out with a tearful gaze, She was a truly gifted artist and would frequently perform folk tunes spontaneously. Nothing I say can capture the magnitude of this loss.
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