The last four minutes of conversations between the US-Bangla Flight 211 pilot and the TIA Air Traffic Control indicates a possible confusion has occurred when the aircraft was landing at Tribhuvan International Airport.
US-Bangla Airlines chief executive officer Imran Asif suspected wrong information was provided to the pilots of the crashed Bombardier Dash 8 plane by Tribhuvan International Airport’s air traffic control and it caused the crash.
Asif said the air traffic control at Dhaka airport has confirmed that the plane landed through the wrong end of the airport.
On the other hand, the TIA authorities claimed that a possible confusion in the mind of the pilot about the Runway 02 (the southern end) and Runway 20 (the northern end).
According to media reports, even as the Bombardier aircraft is on approach, the Nepali pilots of other aircraft are heard warning the ATC that the US-Bangla pilot seems disoriented and that he should be assisted by radar and taken out of harm’s way, and that the visibility in the hills is bad.
At the very outset of the tape, the control towers are heard warning the pilot, “I say again, do not proceed towards Runway 20.”
And later, he is warned to remain on hold and not to land because there is another aircraft on approach.
The last recorded words of the US-Bangla pilot is: “[Unintelligeble ] said sir, are we cleared to land?” After some silence, the clearly alarmed ATC controller shouts, “I say again, turn…!”.
There is silence for a while, then a ‘Fire One’ calls the tower, indicating that a crash has occurred and the airport fire tender has been activated. One Nepali pilot comes on to ask if the runway is closed, and the ATC confirms, “Runway closed.”
Nepali Times has obtained the audio record of the four-minute conversation. Here is the conversation: