Kathmandu, Nepal (BBN) – The US-Bangla plane crashed at Kathmandu airport due to missed approach, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) General Manager Rajkumar Chhetri has said.
“The plane flew past just above the air-traffic control tower during its descent for landing. It touched down the ground just next to a parked plane and ploughed through a fence on the east side of the airport, and plunged into the lower ground,” Mr. Chhetri was quoted by the Kathmandu Post, a local newspaper, as saying.
“Security personnel from Nepal Army and Nepal Police rushed for rescue operation due to timely fire control alert. Had the intensity of fire I saw continued for 10 more minutes, the situation would have been even more dreadful,” he explained.
Airport officials said the Bangla plane narrowly escaped from hitting the tail of Thai Airways plane parked at the airport.
Mr. Chhetri also said when the aircraft approached ‘nine nautical miles’ the airport officials permitted it to land from south (02), but the pilot took the plane towards north (02) for landing.
“When control tower asked the pilot if there was any problem, the pilot said everything is okay. However, instead of landing from the north side, the plane went towards north-east and made two rounds,” he noted.
“Again the tower asked the pilot why he didn’t land the plane and enquired if he was okay. In reply, the pilot said all is fine and he was preparing to land. The alignment of the plane was not properly adjusted for landing. When the air-traffic controller informed about the alignment, there was no response. And then the plane descended from close to airport tower towards the right side (near army hangar),” he added.
The TIA general manager said the details about the passengers would be made public after consulting Bangla counter at TIA.
The plane 78-seater Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft crashed at TIA at 2:18. Forty-nine people died and 22 others injured in crash. There were 71 people on board the ill-fated aircraft including 33 Nepali.
The private carrier US-Bangla Airlines spread its wings beyond the Bangladeshi airspace on May 15 in 2016 with its maiden international flight to the Nepal capital, Kathmandu. It operates Dhaka-Kathmandu flights four times a week.
The airport in Kathmandu is no stranger to mishaps, crashes, and casualties, according to media reports.
On September 28, 2012, a plane heading for the Everest region crashed minutes after take-off from the airport, killing all 19 people on board.
The airport management at the time said that the plane had struck a bird and suffered “technical glitches”.
On September 25, 2011, a small aircraft carrying tourists to view Mount Everest crashed while attempting to land in dense fog, killing all 19 people on board.
On September 28, 1992, all 167 people onboard a Pakistan International Airlines flight were killed when the plane, approaching the airport, crashed into a mountain.
On July 31, of the same year, a Thai Airways International flight crashed into a mountain while approaching the airport, killing 113 people on board.