By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – A Shree Airlines Dash 8 turboprop made a safe emergency landing in Nepal on Thursday after an “indication of fire” in one of its engines, officials said, in a country on heightened alert over aviation safety after a deadly ATR 72 crash in January.
The Shree Airlines plane was on a scheduled flight from Kathmandu to Bhairahawa in southwest Nepal with 78 people, including the crew, on board.
“The pilot reported an indication of fire in the right engine and the plane was diverted to Kathmandu immediately,” Shree Airlines spokesperson Anil Manandhar told Reuters.
Jagannath Niroula, a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), said the plane landed safely in Kathmandu and all passengers and crew were safe.
“There was no indication of any fire when it landed,” Niroula said.
Mountainous Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks, including Mount Everest, has a history of frequent air crashes. Many of them are blamed on difficult terrain and sudden change in weather conditions.
In January, an ATR 72 aircraft owned by Yeti Airlines carrying 72 people crashed in good weather before its scheduled landing in the tourist town of Pokhara, 125 km (79 miles) west of Kathmandu.
Rescuers have so far recovered 71 bodies with one person still missing and presumed dead.
One of the plane’s pilots said before the Yeti Airlines crash that there was no power from the aircraft’s engines, a preliminary report said last month.