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Nepal probes mid-air near collision between two planes

Nepal has suspended three air traffic controllers and launched an investigation after two passenger planes nearly collided mid-air last week, officials said Sunday.

The incident occurred on Friday when an Air India airliner and a Nepal Airlines plane were waiting to land at Kathmandu’s busy international airport.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has formed an committee to look into the incident, spokesperson Jagannath Niroula told AFP.

He said the Air India plane, which was on hold at an altitude of 19,000 feet (5,800 metres) due to high traffic at Kathmandu airport, suddenly descended and narrowly missed colliding with the Nepal Airlines aircraft flying at an altitude of 15,000 feet.

“We have formed a committee to investigate into this incident which has raised our concern over the safety risk,” Niroula said.

“Three air traffic controllers who were in the duty at that time have been removed from the active control position until further notice,” he said.

“Similarly, we have sent a letter to the Indian civil aviation regulatory body to investigate into possible fault of Air India’s pilot and take necessary action.”

Nepal is notorious for its poor air safety and the latest incident comes less than two months after a plane crash in western Nepal which killed all 72 people on board.

A government committee is due to submit its report to ascertain the cause of the Yeti Airlines crash.

Nepal‘s air transport sector has been plagued by accidents due to poor maintenance, insufficient training and lax standards.

In addition to difficult flying conditions, Nepal’s aviation sector been plagued by poor safety due to insufficient training and maintenance.

The European Union has banned all Nepali carriers from its airspace over safety concerns.

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