Why is it so risky to fly in Nepal?

The loss of a plane carrying 72 people in Nepal has highlighted the dangers of air travel in a country often referred to as one of the world’s riskiest places to fly.

Sunday’s crash left at least 68 people dead, making it the worst airplane accident in the Himalayan nation in 30 years. It was also the third-worst aviation accident in the

country’s history, according to data from the Aviation Safety Network. Experts say conditions such as inclement weather, low visibility and mountainous topography all

contribute to Nepal’s reputation as a notoriously dangerous place to fly. Sunday’s Yeti Air flight was 18 minutes into its journey before it lost contact with a control

tower in the central city of Pokhara. The aircraft had nearly finished its short journey from Kathmandu, the capital, to Pokhara, Nepal’s second-most populous city and a gateway

to the Himalayas. ‘Hostile topography’ Fickle weather patterns aren’t the only problem for flight operations. According to a 2019 safety report from Nepal’s Civil

Aviation Authority, the country’s “hostile topography” is also part of the “huge challenge” facing pilots. Nepal, a country of 29 million people, is home to eight of the

world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest, and its beautiful rugged landscapes make it a popular tourist destination for trekkers. But this terrain can be difficult

to navigate from the air, particularly during bad weather, and things are made worse by the need to use small aircraft to access the more remote and mountainous parts of the

country.