Nepal plane crash kills over 50

Glen Norman
March 13, 2018

Officials said there were 71 people on board the US-Bangla Airlines plane coming from Dhaka.

Officials said preliminary estimates indicate 49 people died and 22 others were injured in the crash.

However, the Airport General Manager Raj Kumar Chettri dismissed these allegations, instead blaming the pilot for approaching the runway from the wrong direction.

The plane narrowly missed hitting a parked aircraft and crashed in the airport compound on the eastern side, he said.

US-Bangla Airlines chief executive Bimran Asif said a misunderstanding between the control tower at Kathmandu airport and the pilot might have caused the accident.

Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport has been closed for all arrival and departures 6. In a statement, the Prime Minister said he has constituted a six-member team, headed by a former government secretary, to look into the incident and determine the cause, reported The Associated Press.

Huge plumes of smoke were seen over the airport after the plane crashed at 2.40 pm local time and caught fire.

Numerous bodies that lay on the tarmac, covered with cloth, were charred, witnesses said.

One survivor said at the hospital that the plane shook and there was a loud bang afterwards. Mahbubur Rahman of Bangladesh's civil aviation ministry said: "There might be technical problems on the aircraft".

However, last year, budget carrier SpiceJet signed a purchase order of 50 Bombardier Q400s making it the largest order for this turboprop aircraft.

The 67 passengers on board included 32 Bangladeshis, 33 Nepalese, a Chinese and a Maldivian.

A recording of conversations between the pilot and air traffic controllers indicated confusion over which direction the plane should land.

Nepal too has a record of poor air safety.

Twenty-two passengers - mostly sitting on the plane's right side - managed to free themselves from burning wreckage by climbing through the plane's windows or were pulled from the fuselage by passengers and rescuers. The airlines is a unit of the US-Bangla Group, a US Bangladeshi joint venture company. The crash forced flights from India and the Middle East to be diverted to other airports.

Kathmandu's airport has been the site of several deadly crashes. A Thai Airways flight from Bangkok crashed while trying to land in Kathmandu in 1992 killing all on board.

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