Civil Aviation: Nepal
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US-Bangla Air Flight With 71 Crash-Lands, Goes Up In Flames
A plane carrying 71 people from Bangladesh swerved erratically and flew dangerously low before crashing and erupting in flames as it landed Monday in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, killing at least 50 people, officials and witnesses said.
A top airport official said the pilot of US-Bangla Airlines flight BS211 did not follow landing instructions from the control tower, and had approached the airport's one runway from the wrong direction. “The airplane was not properly aligned with the runway. The tower repeatedly asked if the pilot was OK and the reply was ‘yes’,” said Raj Kumar Chetri, the airport's general manager.
But a recording of the conversations between the pilot and air traffic controllers indicated confusion over which direction the plane should land. In the recording, posted by the air traffic monitoring website liveatc.net, conversation veers repeatedly about whether the pilot should land on the airport’s single runway from the south or the north.
Just before landing the pilot asks “Are we cleared to land?” Moments later, the controller comes back on, using a tone rarely heard in such conversations — perhaps even panic — and tells the pilot: “I say again, turn!” Seconds later, the controller orders firetrucks onto the runway.
The exact number of dead and injured remained unclear amid the chaos of the crash and the rush of badly injured people to nearby hospitals, but Brig Gen. Gokul Bhandari, the Nepal army spokesman, said it was clear that at least 50 people had died. Officials at Kathmandu Medical College, the closest hospital to the airport, said they were treating 16 survivors.
US-Bangla Airlines flight BS211 from Dhaka to Kathmandu was carrying 67 passengers and four crew members, according to an airline spokesperson.
An AP journalist who arrived at the scene soon after the crash saw the twin-propeller plane broken into several large pieces, with dozens of firefighters and rescue workers clustered around the wreckage in a grassy field near the runway. Hundreds of people stood on a nearby hill, staring down at what remained of the Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft.
The plane swerved repeatedly as it prepared to land in Kathmandu, said Amanda Summers, an American working in Nepal. The crowded city sits in a valley in the Himalayan foothills.
“It was flying so low I thought it was going to run into the mountains,” said Summers, who watched the crash from the terrace of her home office, not far from the airport. “All of a sudden there was a blast and then another blast.” AP
1992-2022: A timeline
NEW DELHI: Though Nepal's air industry has boomed in recent years, carrying goods and people between hard-to-reach areas as well as foreign trekkers and climbers, it has a poor safety record. Nepal's aviation industry has long been plagued by poor safety due to insufficient training and maintenance. The European Union has banned all Nepali airlines from its airspace over safety concerns. Nepal also has some of the world's most remote and tricky runways, flanked by snow-capped peaks with approaches that pose a challenge for even accomplished pilots. The weather changes quickly in the mountains, creating treacherous flying conditions
Since 1949, when Nepal saw its first plane land, there have been several crashes that claimed hundreds of lives. In a majority of these cases, the pilots were said to have been at fault.
Here's a look at the major plane crashes in the Himalayan country over the years:
1992 PIA Airbus A300 crash: Nepal's most-fatal air crash saw a PIA Airbus A300 crash at Bhattedanda in Lalitpur, killing 167 people.
1992 Thai Airways Airbus A310 crash: A Thai Airways Airbus A310 crashed into Ghyangphedi, killing as many as 113 people.
2000 Twin -Otter crash: As many as 25 people were killed in an incident which saw a TwinOtter belonging to Royal Nepal Airlines crash in Dadeldhura.
2006 Yeti Airlines Twin-Otter crash: A Yeti Airlines Twin-Otter crashed at Jumla Airport. The incident killed nine people.
2006 Shree Air flight crash: All 24 people on board a Shree Air flight for a WWF Nepal programme died in a crash at Taplejung in eastern Nepal.
March 2008 UN helicopter crash: All 10 people on board died after a UN helicopter crashed at Ramechhap in eastern Nepal while returning from a mission in a Maoist army camp.
2010 Agni Air Flight 101 crash: In the same year, another deadly crash took place in Nepal after an Agni Air Flight 101 went missing off the radar. The flight was flying from Kathmandu and Lukla but crashed 22 minutes after the take-off near Kathmandu. All 14 people onboard were killed.
2010 Tara Air Twin Otter crash: On December 15, 2010, a DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft of Tara Air - flying from Lamidanda to Kathmandu - crashed shortly after the take-off. All 22 people onboard, including three crew members, were killed.
2011 Buddha Air Flight 103 crash: On September 25, 2011, a Beechcraft 1900D aircraft of Buddha Air crashed near Lalitpur. All 22 people onboard, including 10 Indian nationals, were killed.
2012 Sita Air Flight 601 crash: 19 people were killed after a domestic passenger flight of the Sita Air crashed while making an emergency landing at Kathmandu. The plane was flying to Tenzing-Hillary Airport from Kathmandu but developed some technical issues that forced it to go for an emergency landing.
2012 Dornier 228 crash: This was one of the deadliest plane crashes in the history of Nepal. The Dornier 228 aircraft of Agni Air was flying from Pokhara to Jomsom but crashed near the Jomsom Airport. As many as 21 people were onboard, but 15 of them, including both the pilots, lost their lives in the incident.
2016 Tara Air Flight 193 crash: On February 24, 2016, Flight 193 of Tara Air, flying Pokhara to Jomsom, went missing merely eight minutes after take-off. Later, its wreckage was found near Dana village and there were no survivors. The plane was carrying 23 people.
2018 US-Bangla Airlines Flight 211 c rash: A 76- seat Bombardier Q400 of the US-Bangla Airlines was travelling from Dhaka to Kathmandu on March 12, 2018. The ill-fated aircraft crashed while landing at Tribhuvan International Airport, killing 51 out of the 71 people aboard. Later, officials said the plane crashed "due to pilot error and loss of situational awareness".
2022 May 29 A passenger plane with 22 people aboard, including four Indians from Mumbai, went missing, officials said. The plane was flying from Pokhara, some 200 km northwest of capital , to , about 80 km to the northwest. The Tara Air-operated aircraft took off at 10.15 am from Pokhara, and lost contact with the tower around 15 minutes later, an airline official said.