At least 50 people have been killed as a US Bangla airlines plane, carrying 67 passengers and four crews, crashed onto a football ground near Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu. Stay with Kalerkantho and get the latest updates on the incident.
Total 71 people were on board. Of them, 33 were Nepali, 32 Bangladeshi, one Chinese, and one was Maldivian.
The passengers included 37 males, 27 females and 2 children. There were four crew members on board.
At least 50 people killed
At least 50 people were killed and seventeen others rescued in critical condition from the aircraft, Skynews reported quoting an army personnel who is leading the rescue operation in the airport.
Photo: My Republica
At least 23 Bangladeshis have been reported dead as an aircraft of US Bangla airlines, carrying 67 passengers and four crews, crashed onto a football ground near Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu.
According to a list provided by the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Bangladesh, only nine people among 32 Bangladeshis survived the plane crash.
The cause of the crash
The cause was not immediately clear. The aircraft, a Dash-8 PS211 with call sign S2-AGU, crashed at TIA at 2:20 pm.
Basanta Bohora who was on board in the aircraft recalled that the take-off was normal from Dhaka but when the plane approached the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) for landing in Kathmandu, the aircraft began to behave strangely.
“All of a sudden the plane shook violently and there was a loud bang afterwards,” he said, “I was seated near the window and was able to break out of the window.”
Nepal’s Tourism Ministry Joint Secretary Suresh Acharya said 17 injured passengers have been rescued and sent to different hospitals for treatment, reports Kathmandu Post.
According to Foreign Affairs Ministry of Bangladesh, nine Bangladeshis are among the injured.
Damage and rescue operation
An AP journalist who arrived at the scene soon after the crash saw the US-Bangla Airlines 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.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam said officials from Bangladesh Mission are already on the spot and hospital.
Bangladesh Mission in Nepal opened a hotline - Md. Al alamul Emam (Consular +9779810100401) and Asit Baran Sarker (+9779861467422),
Md. Moniruzzaman (+8801912062966), M J H Jabed (+8801757682489) and M Delwar Hossain (+8801553344588).
When contacted, Bangladesh's Ambassador to Nepal Mashfee Binte Shams told that she is in a meeting with Nepalese Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli.
It is expected that the meeting was meant for expediting rescue process and speedy treatment of those who are rescued.
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Probe body formed
Bangladesh's Civil Aviation Authority (CAAB) chairman Air Vice Marshal M Naim Hassan told a media briefing that they constituted a three-member investigation committee incorporating a doctor which would go to Nepal as soon as the Kathmandu airport was reopened.
"We are in constant touch with Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority," he said adding that Bangladesh's army, navy and air force were ready to be called out anytime if required for the rescue campaign in Kathmandu.
All operations in the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu have been suspended since the incident occurred.
Nepal suffered a number of air disasters in recent years, dealing a blow to its tourist industry while its poor air safety record is blamed largely on inadequate maintenance, inexperienced pilots and substandard management.
A Thai Airways flight from Bangkok crashed while trying to land in Kathmandu in 1992 killing all on board while the latest crash came two years after a Twin Otter turboprop aircraft slammed into a mountainside in Nepal killing all 23 people on board and two days later, two pilots were killed when a small passenger plane crash-landed in the country's hilly midwest.
President, PM mourn deaths in plane crash
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed profound shock and sorrow at the tragic deaths in a plane crash of Bangladesh's US-Bangla Airlines in Kathmandu, Nepal today
In separate condolence messages, they prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls of the crash victims and conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved family members.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, now in Singapore on a four-day official visit, expressed deep shock and sorrow at the casualties in the US-Bangla plane crash in Nepal's Tribhuban International Airport, PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim told BSS from Singapore.
"The prime minister is keeping round-the-clock contact in this regard," he said.
The press secretary said the prime minister prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls of the crash victims and conveyed profound sympathy to their family members.
She also wished early recovery of the injured, he said.
What do you know about the aircraft?
The Sweden-based monitor said the plane was a 17-year-old Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop.
The Bombardier Dash 8 or Q-Series, previously known as the de Havilland Canada Dash 8 or DHC-8, is a series of twin-engine, medium-range, turboprop airliners. Introduced by de Havilland Canada (DHC) in 1984, they are now produced by Bombardier Aerospace. Over 1,000 Dash 8s of all models have been built.
The Dash 8 was developed from the de Havilland Canada Dash 7, which featured extreme short take-off and landing (STOL) performance.
With the Dash 8, DHC focused on improving cruise performance and lowering operational costs. The engine chosen was the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW100.
The aircraft has been delivered in four series. The Series 100 has a maximum capacity of 39, the Series 200 has the same capacity but offers more powerful engines, the Series 300 is a stretched, 50-seat version, and the Series 400 is further stretched to 78 passengers.
Models delivered after 1997 have cabin noise suppression and are designated with the prefix "Q". Production of the Series 100 ceased in 2005, and the Q200 and Q300 in 2009.
Captain Abid among survivors
Abid Sultan, the captain of the US-Bangla Airlines flight, survived the plane crash. However, his Co-pilot Pruthula Rashid died.
US Bangla Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Asif Imran confirmed the news.
Prithula Rashid was among the eight persons, who dead at the hospital. She used to serve as the first officer in the aircraft.
From Prithula's Facebook page, it is known that he is associated with the US-Bangla Airlines since July 2016.
US-Bangla first officer Rizwan Ahmed Khan told the journalists: “Abid Sultan was the driver of the crashed Plane. Apart from Prithula, Nabila and Khwaja Hossain were also in the aircraft as crew members.
Sheikh Hasina phones Nepal PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, now in Singapore on a four-day official visit, today phoned her Nepalese counterpart Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli after a tragic US-Bangla plane crash in Kathmandu and assured him of all sorts of assistance from Bangladesh.
"The prime minister made the phone call to the Nepalese premier at 7:50 pm Singapore time and expressed profound shock and sorrow at the casualties in the crash," PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim told journalists from Singapore.