Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Around 50 feared dead in Nepal plane crash, rescue ops underway

Kathmandu Airport Nepal TWITTER PLANE CRASH The plane crashed at Kathmandu Airport in Nepal on Monday morning
Glenn Montgomery | 13 March, 2018, 11:30

Twenty-three people were killed when a Twin Otter plane crashed on a mountainside in western Nepal.

Nepal army spokesman Brigadier General Gokul Bhandari said 50 people had died in the crash. "The tower repeatedly asked if the pilot was ok and the reply was "yes", said Raj Kumar Chetri, the airport's general manager.

Chettri said that moments after the plane received permission to land, the pilot said he wanted to go in a northern direction. "In our preliminary findings, the aircraft might have sustained some technical glitches but we are yet to ascertain the reason behind the unusual landing".

The aircraft came to rest in a field near the tarmac of Tribhuvan International Airport.

Nepal's prime minister KP Sharma Oli said eight people earlier reported to be missing were now presumed dead.

The US-Bangla airliner had been expected to land at 2:20 p.m. local time, after a flight from Dhaka. Officials said that the death toll may further increase. The Himalayan nation has a chequered history when it comes to air safety, with more than 70 crashes involving planes and helicopters since 1949, the year the first aircraft landed there.

Survivor Sanam Shakya, who climbed out of a window of the smouldering plane, said he didn t realise the aircraft was in trouble until it hit the ground.

The nationalities of those on board were later identified; there were 33 Nepalese, 32 Bangladeshis and one Chinese and Maldivian national, apart from four crew members.

Recordings of the conversation between air traffic control and the pilot appear to indicate confusion over which end of Kathmandu airport's single runway the plane was to approach.

My condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.

Kathmandu briefly closed after the accident, forcing inbound flights to divert, but it has since reopened. 71 passengers were on board 3.

The Bangladeshi carrier, which launched operations in July 2014 with a slogan - "Fly Fast-Fly Safe", operates Bombardier and Boeing BA.N aircraft.

In 1992, a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok crashed while trying to land, killing all 113 aboard.

Pilots say that landing at Kathmandu airport can be challenging because of the mountainous landscape.

The 17-year-old plane had circled Tribhuvan International Airport twice as it waited for clearance to land, a company official said.

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