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Nepal airport passenger plane crash leaves at least 50 dead, official says

13 March, 2018, 11:59 | Author: Kristi Dunn
  • An aircraft takes off near the wreckage of a US-Bangla Airlines plane that crashed in a football field near Kathmandu airportMore

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

Another witness, Sushil Chandhury said the plane was "approaching from the opposite direction" to which aircrafts usually land. "There could be a technical issue but we are yet to ascertain the reason behind the unusual landing", an Indian English language daily quoted Gautam.

Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport has been closed for all arrival and departures 6.

Reporters who arrived at the scene after the crash say the plane had broken into several large pieces and lay on a grassy field near the runway.

Neupaney pointed out that the accident of the Bombardier, a commercial aircraft with two propellers, occurred at 14:18 local time.

Numerous bodies on the tarmac were charred, witnesses said.

"All of a sudden the plane shook violently and there was a loud bang afterwards", he said.

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Meanwhile, speaking to the Army 53 aircraft which is on hold about 10 kilometres away, the ATC says the Bangladesh aircraft is "on final for 20".

The blackbox from the aircraft has been recovered from the accident site. "I was seated near the window and was able to break out of the window", he added. It is now known that 33 of the passengers were Nepalis, 32 were Bangladeshi, one was Chinese and one was from the Maldives.

He said the horrific accident took place after the pilot took an opposite direction to descend the plane, not obeying the instructions of the Air Traffic Controller (ATC).

Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli spoke to his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina following the incident and expressed sorrow over the loss of lives. There were 74 passengers on board but no casualties were reported. The crash forced flights from India and the Middle East to be diverted to other airports.

Nepal s poor air safety record is largely blamed on inadequate maintenance and substandard management.

A Retired Air Force Air commodore in Bangladesh, Iqbal Hossain, described to the BBC the challenges for pilots landing at Kathmandu. Just two months earlier, a Thai Airways aircraft crashed near the same airport, killing 113 people.

Selim, the US-Bangla manager, said the plane had circled the airport twice as it waited for clearance to land.



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