Plane crash-lands in Nepal, 50 killed
Technical glitch may have brought down Dhaka flight
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”.
The wreckage at Kathmandu airport, Nepal, on Monday