Tara Air aeroplane accident in Nepal
Entry type: Single project
Publishing organisation: BBC Nepali
Organisation size: Big
Publication date: 2022-06-29
Authors: Writing and Production: Swati Joshi
Design: Lokesh Sharma
Reporting: Ashok Dahal
Editing: Keshav Koirala
Swati Joshi works as a data and visual journalist for BBC South Asia (-minus India) visual journalism team
Lokesh Sharma works as a designer for BBC South Asia (-minus India) visual journalism team
Ashok Dahal and Keshav Koirala are Nepal based journalist working with BBC Nepali
Due to its sudden weather changes and airstrips located in hard-to-access rocky terrains, Nepal has faced around 40 fatal aviation accidents since 1919. This has resulted in 806 fatalities.
Last year, Tara Air crashed in Nepal in which 22 people lost their lives. The story used graphics and charts combined to reflect ongoing investigations in Tara Air plane crash. It also looks at the historical data of fatalities and aircraft hull occurences in Nepal and previous Tara Air accidents to provide context. It also looks at the phase-wise aviation accidents data in Nepal and compares it to Beoing report data.
Nepal ranks 33 out of the 207 countries ordered based on the number of plane crashes between 1990 and 2023. In our analysis of the data we came up with these conclusions:
1. Between 2010 and 2022, Tara Air aeroplanes met with six accidents resulting in 67 fatalities. The maximum number of fatalities (23) were reported in 2016 by a Tara Air Twin Otter plane flying the same route as 9N-AET.
2. In the last two decades, most of the aeroplane accidents in Nepal occurred during the landing phase followed by the en route and approach phase. The least number of accidents occurred in the initial climb phase.
3. In the last 12 years (2010-2022), 64 airplane accidents have occurred in Nepal which has resulted in 530 deaths.
This story was published by BBC Nepali- and reached tens of thousands of readers. We published the story after a month of the accident to update the audience and at the same time inform them about the historical data of aviation accidents in Nepal.
We used Excel for data analysis and Google Sheets, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Flourish for charts and infographics. For publishing we used Shorthand.
Context about the project:
Due to its sudden weather changes and airstrips located in hard-to-access rocky terrains, Nepal has faced many aviation accidents in the past years. Last year in May, Tara Air airplane with 22 people onboard crashed in the mountainous area of western Mustang district. This may seem to be a small number compared to other aviation accidents that have taken place in Nepal but we tried to investigate the number of accidents that took place in Nepal. We used data that was available with the Aviation Safety Network database. Between 2010 and 2022, Tara Air airplanes met with six accidents resulting in 67 fatalities. The maximum number of fatalities (23) were reported in 2016 by a Tara Air Twin Otter plane flying the same route as 9N-AET. We tried to present the data in a way which is visually appealing to the audience. One of the USP of the project was the interactive map to show the movement of the aircraft.
What can other journalists learn from this project?
We collaborated with BBC Nepali for reporting. Since we sit in Delhi, we relied on BBC Nepali for on-ground reporting to achieve high standards in both visual and data storytelling techniques as well as sophisticated reporting and writing.
The project also allowed us to combine a wide range of skills- from data journalism to ground reporting and from beautiful visualizations to good storytelling. Our project demonstrates raw data can be presented in a visually and technologically appealing way, showing journalists on how they can cover such stories.