Nepal | July 10, 2020

Bangladeshi plane crashes in Nepal, killing at least 49

REUTERS
Share Now:
  • US-Bangla Bombardier Q400 hit fence – airport manager
  • Airline CEO blames Kathmandu air traffic control
  • Some of the 71 on board rescued
  • Nepal has poor safety record

Rescue workers work at the wreckage of the US-Bangla airplane after it crashed at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Monday, March 12, 2018. Photo: Reuters

KATHMANDU: At least 49 people were killed on Monday when a Bangladeshi airliner crashed in cloudy weather as it came in to land at the Nepali capital’s hill-ringed airport, officials 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.

Seventyone people were on board the plane arriving from Dhaka when it clipped the fence at Kathmandu and burst into flames, Chettri said.

There were 33 Nepali passengers, 32 from Bangladesh, one from China and one from the Maldives.

“All of a sudden the plane shook violently and there was a loud bang,” one of the survivors, Basanta Bohora, told the Kathmandu Post daily. “I was seated near a window and was able to break out of the window.”

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.

“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.

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.

“The plane should have come from the right direction,” Chettri said, adding that it hit the airport fence, touched the ground and then caught fire.

It was not immediately clear if the pilot had issued a “Mayday” call, or distress signal.

US-Bangla Airlines’ Asif, however, said that wrong signals might have led to the crash.

“A three-minute conversation between the pilot and the air traffic control before the landing indicated that they sent wrong signal to the pilot,” he told reporters in Dhaka.


SERIES OF ACCIDENTS

Many of the bodies that lay on the tarmac, covered with cloth, were charred, witnesses said. Thick plumes of smoke could be seen from the aircraft at the Tribhuvan International Airport.

Those on board include 12 Nepali tour agents who were returning after an annual sales conference in Bangladesh, an official said.

The aircraft that went down on Monday was 17 years old, data from tracking website Flightradar24.com showed. It descended to an airport 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.

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 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 2012, a plane carrying trekkers to Mount Everest region hit a bird and crashed in Kathmandu, killing all on board.

In 1992, all 113 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 US Bangladeshi joint venture company.

The two pilots and two cabin crew were Bangladeshi nationals, airline spokesman Kamrul Islam said in Dhaka.

“Our team will fly to Nepal as soon as the airport is open,” he added. “We are in touch with Nepali authorities.”

The Bangladeshi carrier, which launched operations in July 2014 with a slogan – “Fly Fast-Fly Safe”, operates Bombardier and Boeing aircraft.

READ ALSO:

 


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Expelled from party and parliament, Sarita Giri files complaint at election commission; writes to House Speaker

KATHMANDU: Former lawmaker Sarita Giri, has filed a complaint at the Election Commission stating that Samajwadi Party (now Janata Sawajwadi Party)'s action to sack her violates set norms. Giri claims that the SP's decision to expel her could be against the party rules in that the action was taken Read More...

Total coronavirus cases in Nepal reach 16,531 with 108 new cases reported today

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population has recorded 108 new cases of the coronavirus infection on Thursday, which has taken the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 16,531. At present, there are 196 active cases of infection in Province 1; 2,024 active cases in Province 2; 429 cases in Bagmati Read More...

Sindhupalchok Flood: Two of the four rescued airlifted to Kathmandu

KAVRE: Two of the four persons who were rescued in an injured state from rain-triggered floods that occurred at two places in Bahrabise Municipality and one place in Bhotekoshi Rural Municipality of Sindhupalchok district, on Wednesday night, were airlifted to Kathmandu this afternoon. Critic Read More...

Heavy rain hits scenic central Japan, more damage in south

TOKYO: Flooding and mudslides have stranded hundreds of people in scenic hot springs and hiking areas in central Japan, while rescue workers searched on Thursday for more people missing in the disaster that already has killed nearly 60 people in a southern region. Parts of Nagano and Gifu, includ Read More...

Former Glee star Naya Rivera missing in South California lake

KATHMANDU: Former Glee star Naya Rivera — whose son was found on the boat wearing a life vest — is missing and being searched for at a Southern California lake. According to The Associated Press, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department late on July 8 confirmed that Rivera, 33, is the pe Read More...

E-transportation makes transport business smart

KATHMANDU: The e-transportation service launched to make Nepal's transport business smart has completed one year of service. E-Transportation has been providing transportation management and vehicle breakdown services. Santosh Mandal, who has been engaged in the IT business in the UK, started the Read More...

EU raises its bet on blood plasma in search for COVID-19 therapy

EU asks blood agencies to apply for funding - document Says emergency funds could be used for plasma collection Plasma being tested across world for COVID-19 treatments BRUSSELS: The European Union wants to fast-track funding to treat COVID-19 patients with blood plasma collected from s Read More...

Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut refutes Pooja Bhatt's claim she was launched by the Bhatts

KATHMANDU: Amid the nepotism debate raging in Bollywood, actor Kangana Ranaut has slammed actor/director Pooja Bhatt’s recent tweet on how her father Mahesh Bhatt’s production house Vishesh Films launched more outsiders than the entire industry combined together, including Ranaut. Ranaut' Read More...