3/12/2018 7:24:29 PM
|written By : Team India Se|
At least 49 people were killed when a Bangladeshi airliner crashed in cloudy weather as it came in to land at Kathmandu airport in Nepal on March 12, officials said.
There were 71 people on board the US-Bangla Airlines plane arriving from Dhaka when it hit the airport fence and burst into flames, said Raj Kumar Chettri, the general manager of the hill-ringed airport.
Those aboard included 33 Nepali passengers, with 32 from Bangladesh, one from China and one from the Maldives.
The two pilots and two cabin crew were Bangladeshi nationals, airline spokesman Kamrul Islam said in Dhaka.
“All of a sudden the plane shook violently and there was a loud bang,” survivor Basanta Bohora told the Kathmandu Post. “I was seated near a window and was able to break out of the window.”
“So far 49 people are dead and 22 are undergoing treatment at different hospitals,” Sanjiv Gautam, executive director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), told reporters.
Several people were rescued from the burning wreckage of the Bombardier Q400 series aircraft and are undergoing treatment at hospitals, army spokesman Gokul Bhandari said.
The chief executive officer of US-Bangla Airlines, Imran Asif, accused Kathmandu’s air traffic control for giving wrong signals.
But airport general manager Raj Kumar Chettri said the pilot disregarded their messages and came in from the wrong direction.
Chettri said that moments after the plane received permission to land, the pilot said he wanted to go in a northern direction. Asked by the control tower if there was a problem, he replied in the negative.
The plane was then seen making two rounds in a northeast direction, Chettri said. Traffic controllers again asked the pilot if things were OK, and he replied, “Yes”.
The tower then told the pilot his alignment was not correct, but there was no reply, Chettri added.
Offering his condolences, Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli promised an immediate investigation.
The aircraft was 17 years old, data from tracking website Flightradar24.com showed. It descended to an altitude of 4,400 feet (1,341 m) and then climbed to 6,600 feet (2,012 m) before crashing about two minutes later, the website said.
Bombardier said on Twitter it was saddened by the accident. “Our thoughts are with those injured, and their families,” it said.
The accident was the latest to hit mountainous Nepal, which has a poor record of air safety. Small aircraft ply an extensive domestic network and often run into trouble at remote airstrips.
There have been a series of accidents at Kathmandu in the past.
In March 2014, a flock of birds shattered the windshield of a Malaysia Airlines MASM.KL jet as it landed in Kathmandu. The same month, a rear wheel of an Airbus A320 operated by an Indian budget airline caught fire after landing.
In 1992, all 167 people aboard were killed when a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok crashed while trying to land in Kathmandu.
US-Bangla Airlines is a unit of the US-Bangla Group, a U.S. Bangladeshi joint venture company.
The Bangladeshi carrier, which launched operations in July 2014, operates Bombardier and Boeing aircraft.