Plane crash-lands in Nepal, 50 killed

Tech­ni­cal glitch may have brought down Dhaka flight

DNA (Delhi) - - Front Page -

Kath­mandu: A US-Bangla Air­lines air­craft crashed and burst into flames while land­ing at Nepal’s Trib­hu­van In­ter­na­tional Air­port (TIA) here on Mon­day, killing more than 50 peo­ple, a top Nepalese of­fi­cial said.

The plane, en route to Kath­mandu from Dhaka, with 67 pas­sen­gers and four crew mem­bers caught fire af­ter it ca­reened off the run­way while land­ing and crashed onto a foot­ball ground, TIA spokesper­son Prem Nath Thakur said. There were 33 Nepalese na­tion­als on board flight UBG 211, a Bom­bardier Dash 8 Q400. Nepal army spokesman Bri­gadier Gen­eral Gokul Bhan­dari said 50 peo­ple had died and the fate of the oth­ers was un­known.

“We are car­ry­ing out res­cue work. We are col­lect­ing de­tails,” TIA Gen­eral Man­ager Raj Ku­mar Ch­hetri said.

The black box of the air­craft

was re­cov­ered from the spot, Ch­hetri said.

Nepal Po­lice spokesper­son DIG Manjo Ne­u­pane said 31 bod­ies were pulled out from the crashed plane so far and nine oth­ers were de­clared dead at dif­fer­ent hos­pi­tals.

Plumes of black smoke could be seen ris­ing from the foot­ball ground where the plane crashed. The 17-year-old air­craft took off from Dhaka and landed at the air­port at 2:20 pm (lo­cal time).

“The plane shot off the run­way while it was about to

crash into the hanger and caught fire,” an air­port of­fi­cial was quoted as say­ing by the Hi­malayan Times.

The of­fi­cials, how­ever, have said a tech­ni­cal glitch could be the cause of the ac­ci­dent. “The air­craft was per­mit­ted to land from the south­ern side of the run­way over Kotesh­wor but it landed from the north­ern side,” Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity of Nepal (Caan) San­jiv Gau­tam was quoted as say­ing by the Kath­mandu Post.

He said the plane was out of con­trol when it at­tempted to land on the run­way.

“We are yet to as­cer­tain the rea­son be­hind the un­usual land­ing,” he said sus­pect­ing the air­craft might have sus­tained some tech­ni­cal glitches.

Au­thor­i­ties say the fire has now been ex­tin­guished and res­cue work is on. All the flights to and from TIA have been halted af­ter the crash. Prime Min­is­ter KP Sharma Oli, Home Min­is­ter Ram Ba­hadur Thapa and De­fence Min­is­ter Ish­war Pokharel have reached the air­port to take stock of the ac­ci­dent. The Dhaka-based US-Bangla Air­lines is a pri­vate car­rier that launched in July 2014 with the motto “Fly Fast Fly Safe”.

—REUTERS

The wreck­age at Kath­mandu air­port, Nepal, on Mon­day

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