Turkish Airlines Crash in Kathmandu: Timeline of Events

On Wednesday, March 4th, 2015, flight TK726/THY726 operated by Turkish Airlines skidded the wet runway at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport during landing. Out of 224 passengers on board, no one was seriously hurt, only 4 were minorly injured.

An A330-300 belonging to Turkish Airlines

An A330-300 belonging to Turkish Airlines, similar to the one that was involved in the Marc 4 incident at Kathmandu

Photo by Vincent Boyer via Flickr

Although the passengers got out safe from the Airbus A330-300, it left the only international airport in Nepal crippled for 4 days. The airport lost 15 million Rupees of revenue each day while more than 50,000 travelers were left stranded both in and outside Nepal.

Here is the timeline of events of the Turkish Airlines incident in Kathmandu.

Date: March 4, 2015

All times are in Nepal Standard Time (GMT +5:45)

12:01 AM: A Boeing 737-8AL aircraft belonging to Jet Airways lands at Kathmandu after a 2-hour delay, making it the last arrival of March 3. It was scheduled to return to Delhi the following morning.

Before 6:00 AM: The Turkish Airlines’ plane (registration: TC-JOC) operating flight TK726 arrives at Varanasi, India. It makes its first contact with the Nepali air traffic controllers at Kathmandu.

6:00 AM: Enters Nepali airspace

6:00 AM – 6:10 AM: TK726 was asked to hold above the skies of border of Nepal and India (near Birgunj)

6:10-7:00 AM: TK726 holds above Simara. TK726

7:00 AM: TK726 asks for approval for making approach into Kathmandu. Visibility is 1 km on the Southern side (runway 02), 3 km on the Northern side (runway 20).

7:10 AM: TK726 is approaching KTM via RNP-AR procedure. Cleared for landing runway 02 after the visibility increases to 3,000 meters. At this point, the plane is at 6,300 feet. (runway height is 4390 ft)

TK726 flight history

Full Flight History of TK726

7:12 AM: Visibility suddenly reduces to less than a kilometer. TK 726 misses the approach, goes around at 400 feet above the ground and returns to Simara via Dharke, Manahari.

7:35 AM: TK726 prepares for the second approach after returning to the point NOPEN via Dharke, Manahari, and Simara.

7:36 AM: Enters Kathmandu Tower’s airspace. Visibility still no more than 1 km.

7:40 AM: Tower asks the pilot if he could see the runway. The pilot replies negative but said he would continue the approach anyway.

7:41 AM: The plane misses the centerline of the runway and its left landing gear slams on the wet slippery grass while the right main landing gear on the runway, causing the plane to skid violently towards the left. The plane stops at just about 500 feet away from the Nepal Oil Corporation’s aviation fuel tanks.

Aftermath of crash

March 4, 2015

  • Turkish Airlines asks Indian Military Forces to ferry an aircraft removal kit
  • All domestic flights resume at around 2PM, utilizing only half of the 10000 feet long runway

March 5

  • Indian Airforce’s Hercules C130J arrives at Kathmandu with an aircraft removal kit
  • TC-JOC couldn’t be removed that day. Jet Airway’s VT-JFQ is still stuck

March 6

  • Jet Airways’ VT-JFQ takes off in just 4,000 feet from Kathmandu
  • Decision to close flights until 10AM March 7 (Saturday)
  • Indian authorities and Nepal Airlines’ personnel back out from the removal, leaving the aircraft stuck, posing uncertainty as to when the airport will open again

March 7

  • A Turkish technical team arrives Kathmandu from Delhi
  • The plane is pulled off from the mud and dragged into the runway from where it could be easily dragged out from the runway
  • At around 12PM, passengers whose flights were scheduled after 2 PM were called
  • The airport opens and Nepal Airlines flies to Delhi at 10AM, the first international flight in 4 days

Sources

1. Ekantipur

2. Flightradar24

Bonus: Last flight of Turkish Airlines TC-JOC (video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZdAqWrctVs
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