A US-Bangna Bangladeshi plane with 69 passengers on board crashed near Kathmandu airport Monday as it was coming in to land, officials said, as fire fighters battled to extinguish the burning wreckage and rescue passengers.
Out of the 67 passengers, 32 were from Bangladesh, 33 from Nepal, and one each from China and the Maldives.
The airline and airport authorities were quick to kick off their blame-game after the aviation disaster, the worst suffered by Nepal since the 1992 Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) crash which left 167 dead.
Audio recordings of the conversation between the tower and pilot show apparent confusion over the runway approach at Kathmandu airport as the audio has been went viral on the social media.
Prior to the crash, the plane circled Tribhuvan International Airport twice as it waited for clearance to land, Mohammed Selim, the airline's manager in Kathmandu, told Dhaka-based Somoy TV.
Meanwhile, six officers stationed at the Air Traffic Control Tower who witnessed the air crash have been shifted to another department to "minimise shock of the accident", the paper said.
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"The airplane was not properly aligned with the runway".
Nepal PM KP Oli on Monday said a commission will be formed to investigate the cause of the crash. The latter responds and says "We would like to land on 20"; he is cleared to land on that end of the runway, the report said.
US-Bangla Airlines is a private carrier that launched in July 2014 with the motto "Fly Fast Fly Safe", according to its website.
"Looks like they are really confused", one man says in Nepali, talking about Flight BS211. Sultan is a former Bangladesh Air Force pilot and was also a flying instructor with the airline, AP reported. Traffic controllers again asked the pilot if things were OK, and he replied, "Yes". At one point, the controller told the woman copilot she was heading toward runway 20, although the aircraft had been cleared for runway 02. "Hence, we have transferred them to other departments to reduce their stress post-crash", said Rajan Pokharel, deputy director general at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Then I saw the plane change direction nearly completely and it was flying straight towards us.
"'The plane should have come from the right direction, ' Chettri said, adding that it hit the airport fence, touched the ground and then caught fire".
Canadian plane maker Bombardier said it was sending an air safety investigator and a field service representative to the site.