Investigations into the January Yeti Airlines crash that killed all on board, including Australian teacher Myron Love, have uncovered that the pilots feathered the propellers before the plane made impact.
Initially, investigators concluded based on the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recordings that “a problem in the engine [was] the reason behind the crash of the aircraft on 15 January in Pokhara.”
The team of investigators concluded that just prior to the incident, the engines had “no thrust.”
Upon further inspection, Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority found the pilots put the propellers for both engines into a feather position.
Propeller feathering is a process in which a pilot will alter the pitch of the propeller so the blades are rotating parallel to the airflow. This reduces drag, allowing the aircraft to maintain height and speed in the case of an engine failure.
Investigators are yet to find exactly how the engines failed and what caused the propellers to be put into a feather position, but investigations are ongoing.
Technical advisors from the engine’s manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, have joined the investigation in Nepal, whilst the data from the black box recorders have been downloaded and are being analysed in Singapore.
Videos of the ATR 72-500 pitching to the left before impact, as well as clips of the aircraft on fire and a disturbing Facebook Live clip from within the cabin, have emerged on social media.
The crash of Yeti Airlines Flight YT691 is considered the worst aviation accident in Nepal in 30 years, after the entire 72 people on board including the pilots and 29-year-old Sydney-based teacher Myron Love were killed on 15 January.
71 bodies have been recovered, whilst the remaining individual is assumed dead.
Love’s family alongside the family of his partner, Anabelle Bailey, also released a statement through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“We would like to express our deep gratitude for the amazing support shown to us by our family and friends in this time of need,” said the two families.
“Myron has been a rock to both of our families for many years and he has always lived his life to the fullest. He has put so much into his short life that most of us couldn’t fit into our lifetime.
“We do request at this time that you offer us peace and privacy for us to grieve, and deal with this tragedy.”
Nepal, whilst known for its beauty, is also full of difficult terrain for aircraft. The mountainous topography means that runways have to be short, and only turboprop-powered aircraft can be used in much of the country.
Over 700 fatalities have occurred in Nepal as a result of air crashes since 1992.