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US-Bangla Airlines Flight Crashes at Kathmandu Airport, Killing 50

US-Bangla Airlines Flight Crashes at Kathmandu Airport, Killing 50
Jackie Reddy

US-Bangla Airlines Flight BS211 was carrying 71 people when it crashed on Monday at KTM. The plane was inbound from Dhaka when the incident occurred. The exact number of casualties have yet to be confirmed, but it is reported that at least 50 persons are thought to be dead.

A US-Bangla Airlines flight crashed upon landing on Monday at Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) in Kathmandu, AP reports. US-Bangla Airlines Flight BS211 was inbound from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to the Nepalese capital when the incident occurred.

The plane, a Bombardier Dash 8, was carrying 67 passengers and four crew members at the time of the crash. It is reported that at least 50 persons have died, but the exact number of casualties has not yet been confirmed.

An official at KTM revealed that the pilot of the flight failed to follow landing instructions as issued by the airport’s air traffic control and is said to have made his runway approach from the wrong direction. Commenting on the incident, Raj Kumar Chetri, KTM’s general manager, said, “The airplane was not properly aligned with the runway. The tower repeatedly asked if the pilot was OK and the reply was ‘yes’.”

However, conversations between the pilot and air traffic control reveal confusion over the plane’s landing pattern and, specifically, whether the craft should approach KTM’s single runway from the south or the north.

In a recording made public on liveatc.net, the pilot can be heard asking, “Are we cleared to land?”. Just seconds after this, the controller is heard to exclaim, “I say again, turn!”

According to the eyewitness account of Amanda Summers, who witnessed the incident from her house, the craft swerved multiple times on approach to KTM. “It was flying so low I thought it was going to run into the mountains. All of a sudden there was a blast and then another blast,” she said.

According to an AP journalist who attended the scene soon after the crash, the plane had broken into multiple pieces. Nitin Keyal, another eyewitness, said, “It was flying very low … You could tell it wasn’t a normal landing.”

It is reported that most of the injured have been take to Kathmandu Medical College.

According to the message on its website, US-Bangla Airlines has set up a dedicated hotline for relatives of those onboard the flight.

[Photo: AP Photo/Niranjan Shreshta]

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