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Nepal installing new radar, weather monitoring equipment to improve air safety

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KATMANDU, Nepal - Nepal is improving air transport safety by installing a new radar system and weather monitoring equipment to help prevent accidents during bad weather in the mountainous nation, an official said Wednesday.

Tourism Secretary Sushil Ghimire said the new radar system is being installed on a mountaintop just south of Kathmandu and will cover the entire country.

Nepal currently has only one radar system at Kathmandu's airport which has limited range because it is located in a valley.

Many airstrips in the Himalayan nation are in mountain ranges, making flying dangerous during bad weather.

Ghimire said cameras are being installed in those airports which will transmit data and images to flight controllers in Kathmandu so they will be able to determine whether flying is safe.

In February, 18 people were killed when a plane slammed into a mountain in bad snow and fog. Flying conditions were fine in Kathmandu and the destination, but the weather along the way had deteriorated and the pilot did not have any warning.

Information from the new equipment will enable aviation officials to map out weather conditions across the country, Ghimire said.

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