‘Pilot error’ blamed for deadly Kathmandu plane crash

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    Nepalese rescuers stand near a passenger plane from Bangladesh that crashed at the airport in Kathmandu [AP]

    Kathmandu, Nepal — At least 49 people have been confirmed dead, when a US-Bangla Airlines plane carrying more than 70 people crashed in an apparent pilot error, at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmanduauthorities said.

    Manoj Neupane, deputy inspector general for the Nepali police, told Al Jazeera that at least 40 people were killed at the crash site, while nine others died in the hospital.

    At least 22 passengers are undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the city, he said.

    Raj Kumar Chhetri, general manager at TIA, told Al Jazeera that the aircraft skidded off the runaway after landing in the “wrong direction against the order of the control room”. 

    “The control room had given permission to land from the southern end. But it landed from the northern side after making few rounds in the sky,” he said.

    Nepal’s Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has called Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to “express sorrow” following the crash, Bishnu Rimal, Oli’s chief political advisor, said. 

    The Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft took off from the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, to the Himalayan capital of Khatmandu on Monday morning.

    Images first posted on social media showed workers at the airport standing at the runway and grounds, as thick smoke was seen rising in the background.  

    Rescuers were later seen crowding around the plane, which was turned upside-down and badly burned. 

    In Dhaka, Kamrul Hasan, general manager of the airlines, said based on the passenger list, there were 33 Nepali nationals onboard the flight.

    At least 32 others were from Bangladesh, one from China and one from the Maldives.

    He said two airline officials were awaiting a flight to Kathmandu to help gather more information about the incident.

    Relatives of some of the passengers were seen in front of US-Bangla Airlines office at Dhaka’s Baridhara district, demanding to know what happened to their family members.

    SM Abul Kalam Azad, brother of a government official who was on-board the plane, was seen crying outside the airline office.

    Azad told Al Jazeera he does not know whether his sister, Umme Salima, is alive or dead. Salima, a Planning Ministry official left for Nepal for a three-day official visit.

    Meanwhile the embassy of Bangladesh in Kathmandu has opened a hotline for family members and friends of the passengers.

    In 2012, at least 19 people were killed after a small plane flying towards Mount Everest crashed on the outskirts of Kathmandu. 

    During the same year, at least 15 people were also killed when a plane taking tourists to the high-altitude airport near Annapurna crashed. 

    View the original article: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/03/bangla-plane-crash-lands-kathmandu-airport-casualty-feared-180312090642034.html

    With additional reporting by Roshan Sedhai in Kathmandu and Faisal Mahmud in Dhaka.

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