Weekend Crashes: Nepal Plane Crash, Turkish Plane Crash, NYC Helicopter Crash

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Over the weekend, the news was dotted with accounts of plane and helicopter crashes across the world. Reports on the Nepal plane crash, Turkish plane crash, and helicopter crash in New York City are just coming in, so it is unclear whether foul play or negligence was involved in any of the cases.

Turkish Plane Crash

A plane flying from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Turkey crashed in Iran, killing everyone on board. Eight passengers were on board the flight, including heiress Mina Basaran, the daughter of Turkish business moghul Huseyin Basaran. Ms. Basaran, 28, was returning from her bachelorette party in UAE ahead of her upcoming wedding.

After visiting Dubai, Basaran boarded a private flight with seven of her friends on Sunday afternoon at Sharjah International Airport. The plane was owned by her father’s company Basaran Investment Holding. Ms. Basaran was a member of the Basaran Investment Holding’s board and is said to have been in line to run the business.

The flight attendant and two pilots, all women, also perished in the Turkish plane crash.

Flight radar records show some curious movement. Nearly an hour and a half after take off, the plane quickly jumped in altitude. Within a few minutes it then dropped 10,000 feet just as quickly and disappeared from the radar. According to the Iranian state sponsored news agency, Isan, the pilot had reported technical problems, asking to fly at a lower altitude.

Witnesses speaking to state sponsored media reported seeing the plane on fire before finally crashing in the Zagros Mountains, 230 miles outside of Tehran.

Mountainous terrain and inclement weather made it difficult for rescue teams to reach the burning wreckage. After a 15 hour operation and the dedicated work of 80 people, it has been reported than all 11 bodies have been recovered from the Turkish plane crash wreckage. Emotional photos of aid workers retrieving the bodies from the mountainside were posted on Monday.

The Basaran wedding was planned for next month.

This isn’t the first time the Zagros Mountains has seen a plane crash. Last month, 66 passengers perished in a crash in the mountain range. There were no survivors. Tehran has blamed US sanctions for the crash, saying the sanctions prevent them from importing new airplane parts.

Nepal Plane Crash
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

Nepal Plane Crash

An inbound flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh, crashed over the weekend at Tribhuvan Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal. So far, details have remained unclear.

Witnesses report seeing the plane flying abnormally low and swerving several times as it began its descent towards Tribhuvan Airport. A witness in the airport said everyone froze when they saw the plane because it was flying so low even bystanders could tell something was not right.

The US-Bangla Airlines flight then entered the runway from the wrong side. The flight had permission to enter for the southern side, instead it entered from the north. “The plane had permission to land from the southern side of the runway but they instead landed from the northern side. Authorities do not know why they did not land from the southern side,” airport manager Raj Kumar Chhetri told CNN.

The plane crashed just off of the runway and caught flame. Witnesses report seeing a flash of light and billowing smoke. The flames were put out within a minute, but not before killing or injuring those on board.

A spokesperson for the Nepal Army, Brig. Gen. Gokul Bhandari, confirmed that 50 of the 71 people on board died in the Nepal plane crash. An anonymous police official told Time 10 people were unaccounted for, 23 were injured, and 38 had perished. CNN reports 40 died at the scene and 9 later in the hospital. 22 individuals are in the hospital receiving treatment after being rescued from the smoldering wreckage of the Nepal plane crash. Most on board were from Bangladesh or Nepal.

It is yet unclear why the pilot was flying so erratically, but the strange circumstances of the Nepal plane crash has drawn international attention.

NYC Helicopter Crash East River
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

New York Helicopter Crash

Sunday evening, 5 passengers on board a Liberty Helicopters tour of New York City died in the icy waters of the East River after a helicopter crash.

Helicopter tours exploring the New York City skyline are a common sight in the bustling city, but the strange behavior of this helicopter caught the attention of passerbyers. The helicopter crash happened Sunday night as a private photoshoot was taking place in the the Liberty helicopter. The helicopter crashed in the East River around 7pm Sunday evening.

The pilot issued a mayday call to LaGuardia airport, reporting the helicopter was experiencing engine failure. The chopper then crashed into the chilly waters of the East River where it promptly capsized. The passengers were strapped in tight and only the pilot was able to escape. He climbed to the top of the flipped helicopter and motioned for help to passerbyers.

Fire Department of New York Commissioner Daniel Nigro said about the helicopter crash rescue efforts, “One of the most difficult parts of the rescue were that five people were tightly harnessed. People had to be cut out.” They were not able to save any of the passengers.

Liberty Helicopter is one of the largest helicopter sightseeing services in New York. Although their website claims “We have been in business and flying safely for over 30 years,” this week’s incident was hardly their first helicopter crash. In fact, they have seen three helicopter crashes in the past 11 years. Most recently, nine people died when one of their helicopters collided with a private plane above the Hudson River. According to investigators, the helicopter was at fault, having been flying too high. In 2007, one of their helicopters dove into the Hudson River. Luckily, a paramedic was onboard and helped everyone escape.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced they were sending 14 investigators to uncover the cause behind the helicopter crash. The pilot, Richard Vance, told investigators a piece of luggage from one of the passengers may have pressed the emergency fuel shutoff button.

Noticing the helicopter was flying abnormally low, one witness filmed the crash and posted the footage to Twitter. This may raise questions about whether such a video should be broadcasted on social media, but the footage provides invaluable information to investigators. For one, it shows that floaters did not detonate which may indicate negligence on the part of Liberty Helicopters. Any helicopter flying near water is required to have a functioning floatation device to prevent it from capsizing should it crash into the water.

CNN reached out to Vance’s brother for comment. He told CNN, “He [Richard Vance] did his job and got out alive… He’s a true f—ing pilot, so just let him be.”

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