- Investigators retrieve flight data recorder
- Pilot landed more than 100 times at Kathmandu - airline
- Death toll 49, including four crew - officials
- Transcript suggests confusion over runway
"No technical glitches" US-Bangla said Sultan, a former Bangladesh Air Force pilot, had landed more than 100 times at Kathmandu, where wind shear and bird hits are frequent hazards in the mountainous region. Sultan had more than 5,000 hours flying experience and was specially trained to land at the airport, Islam said. The airline also denied a media report that the aircraft had skidded off the runway during a domestic flight in 2015, saying it "never, ever encountered any accident. It had no technical glitches." Defending the pilots, airline chief executive Imran Asif cited the transcript of their radio conversation with ground control in Kathmandu issued by a German air safety website, JACDEC. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal did not directly confirm the authenticity of the transcript, saying publication of such exchanges went against the law. "We suspect wrong signals from Kathmandu air traffic control room might have led to the crash," Asif told reporters on Monday. "A three-minute conversation between the pilot and the air traffic control before the landing indicated that they sent a wrong signal to the pilot." Transmissions by the Kathmandu tower controller show that, despite being cleared to land on runway 02, the flight began deviating from its course. The captain and the tower controller discussed which runway the aircraft was aiming for, the website said. At one point, the controller told the co-pilot she was heading toward runway 20, although the aircraft had been cleared for runway 02. Later, the captain took over the conversation and confirmed the plan to land at runway 02. At one stage, ground control said runway 20 had also been cleared for landing, however. The plane made an attempt to land on the runway it was originally meant to use. Chettri said most international flights are directed to runway 02 but depending on wind conditions, flights are also requested to use 20. He said police would investigate how the conversation between the pilots and control room was leaked.
Flights resume On Tuesday, airport operations returned to normal. The aircraft wreckage lay on ground near the runway, guarded by security personnel. "Regardless of what contributed to this tragic accident, we are sorry," Asif, the airline's chief executive, wrote on networking website LinkedIn. "And we stand by the bereaved families of those who lost their loved ones." On Monday, Kathmandu airport officials said they had asked the pilots if they faced a problem after the aircraft changed course in the final descent, but the pilots said they did not. The plane was then seen circling twice 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 received no reply, Chettri said. Canadian plane maker Bombardier said it was sending an air safety investigator and a field service representative to the site. READ ALSO:
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