KATHMANDU, Nepal-An investigation report of the 2012 Sita Air crash has revealed that overweight was the major cause behind aircraft disaster. The report made public on Sunday after 11 months stated the aircraft takeoff weight was 5,914 kg, whereas the maximum takeoff weight allowed for the Lukla flight is 5,836 kg.
On Sept 28, a Dornier aircraft bound for Lukla flapped down into the banks of the Manohara River in Bhaktapur shortly after takeoff from Kathmandu, killing all 19 passengers on board.
The report said that the airline procedure assumes a traffic load of 15 passengers, comprising of five Nepalis and 10 foreigners, for flights from Kathmandu to Lukla.
The report further said the plane’s takeoff performance was compromised with both passengers and cargo weight.
‘2 kg under load was recorded on the load sheet of the aircraft, but did not account for the 70 to 80 kg of baggage it had on board’, the report said.
Based on witnesses, the report said that a handbag registered 15 kg when it was put on the scales at Kathmandu airport check-in was actually 11 kg at Lukla airport.
According to the report, overloading alone was not the cause of the lack of performance in the climb phase and stated that the aircraft must have lost power.
“Using the investigation’s assumptions about their gender, this represents a traffic load of 1,305 kg whereas the total traffic load allowed is 1,152 kg,” the report reads.
A CCTV camera on an airport building recorded that 5 seconds before the aircraft left the ground; a flash appeared in the region of the right engine.