The engine of the ill-fated Air Kasthamandap aircraft failed when it was only a few minutes away from its destination of Jumla. This led the pilot to opt for a forced landing in a field, which took his and the co-pilot’s life. Pilot Dinesh Neupane and Co-pilot Santosh Rana are the real heroes who saved nine passengers’ lives at the cost of their own.
When the plane was in Kalikot skies, it wasn’t at a very high altitude and was passing through hills. As recalled by one of the passengers Dhananjaya Khatri of Jumla, “There was a loud sound and all of a sudden aircraft’s fans stopped functioning and the pilot was pressing buttons in vain.”
“But he didn’t lose his cool,” says Khatri of Neupane who later instructed everyone to fasten their seat belts and stay calm.
“While everyone had panicked, fearing for their lives, the pilot shouted out loud and assured them that they would save everyone even by sacrificing their lives. Suddenly the aircraft hit the ground with a huge noise,” Khatri, who is undergoing treatment for broken leg at the Kohalpur-based Nepalgunj Medical College, told THT online.
“Passengers were bleeding and crying for help. When I looked at the pilot, he was motionless. I called him and tugged at him but he didn’t respond and his body was trapped,” Khatri added. Co-pilot Santosh Rana was also seriously injured, said Khatri.
“By the time villagers descended on the scene, the co-pilot had stopped breathing,” he said.