CHITWAN: Pitambar Sapkota, a patient admitted to Bharatpur Hospital in Chitwan, was waiting for senior neurosurgeon Dr Bal Krishna Thapa for a surgery when the US Bangla plane crashed at Tribhuvan International Airport on Monday afternoon. But fate had another way for Dr Thapa, as he was killed in the crash that saw at least 50 other passengers dead, and more than 20 injured. Sapkota, 65, of Parbat district admitted to the hospital on Thursday was dumbfounded at Thapa's death when he heard the sad news on the eventful day. He has a blood clot in the head, rendering his right hand immobile, and has to be operated soon. "Dr Thapa had told me that he would operate on me upon his return. But things have taken a different turn," he said from the hospital bed. Thapa, who was chief at the neuro unit of BP Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital in Chitwan, was returning from attending a conference on neurosurgery in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, when the 78-seater US-Bangla Airlines Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft crashed at 2:18 pm. The total 71 passengers including a four-member crew were on board including 33 Nepalis, 32 Bangladeshis and one each from China and Maldives. Like Sapkota, other three patients admitted to the Cancer Hospital were scheduled to be operated on by Dr Thapa. "I have not handled a single surgery alone so far. Three patients are scheduled to be operated on by Dr Thapa," said Dr Benju Laxmi Pradhan, who has been working for the past six years with Dr Thapa as a surgery team member. Thapa, a gold medalist, had been working for the Cancer Hospital since 2058 BS. He would also work for private hospitals including Alive Hospital. "Dr Thapa was scheduled to return on Saturday from Dhaka, and we had called patients for surgery on Sunday," said executive chairperson of Chitwan Hospital Private Limited Chuda Mani Ghimire. Thapa was also interested in writing. He has published two anthologies of poems - 'Daktari Kabita' and 'Daktarka Kabita' and an essay 'Chirfar' have been published.