49 people confirmed dead in Kathmandu plane crash, 22 undergoing treatment

Hannah Rogers
March 13, 2018

The passenger plane carrying 71 people from Bangladesh crashed and burst into flames as it landed Monday in Kathmandu, Nepal's capital, killing dozens of people, officials said.

In statements to the press, Deputy Inspector General of the Police of Nepal, Manoj Neupaney, confirmed the figure and explained that 22 other people were hospitalized.

"Our ATC permitted the aircraft to land from the southern side of the runway but it changed its route and attempted to land from the northern side", said Chettri.

The plane narrowly missed hitting a parked aircraft and crashed in the airport compound on the eastern side, he said.

It is Nepal s only worldwide airport and experts say the mountainous landscape with the towering Himalayas to the north poses difficulties for pilots coming in to land.

Flights out of the airport were canceled after the incident. "The landing at Kathmandu because of the terrain is a little challenging", said Gabriele Ascenzo, a Canadian pilot who runs aviation safety courses in Nepal.

The US-Bangla airliner had been expected to land at 2:20 p.m. local time, after a flight from Dhaka.

"All of a sudden the plane shook violently and there was a loud bang afterwards", he was quoted as saying by the Kathmandu Post.

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At the end of the conversation, the controller yells, "I say again, turn!", before fire trucks are ordered on to the runway.

Among the passengers, 36 were Bangladeshi, 33 Nepalese, one Chinese and one from the Maldives, according to the ministry in Dhaka.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolence to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragic incident.

US-Bangla Airlines is a unit of the US-Bangla Group, a U.S. Bangladeshi joint venture company.

Kathmandu airport briefly closed after the accident, forcing inbound flights to divert, but it has since reopened.

At the hospital closest to the airport, Kathmandu Medical College and Teaching Hospital, charred bodies were arrayed on the floor as frantic relatives tried to guess the identities by looking at articles of clothing and other personal items that had escaped incineration. There were 74 passengers on board but no casualties were reported.

Selim, the US-Bangla manager, said the plane had circled the airport twice as it waited for clearance to land.

Kathmandu airport lies in a bowl-shaped valley with the Himalayas to the north, making it a notoriously challenging place to land.

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