US-Bangla airliner crashes in Nepal, casualties feared

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Plane crashA Bangladeshi aircraft carrying 67 passengers and four crew crashed on Monday while coming in to land at the airport in the Nepali capital, Kathmandu, Reuters reports quoting an airport official.

Seventeen people on board had been reportedly rescued and were sent to hospitals.

A Nepali newspaper, Kathmandu Post, said many casualities are feared. Photographs show the aircraft was damaged.

However, the state of the other people on the flight from Dhaka, operated by US-Bangla Airlines, was not clear, airport spokesman Birendra Prasad Shrestha told Reuters.

"We are trying to bring the fire under control. Details are awaited," he said, adding that the airport had been shut down and all other flights diverted.

"We're now concentrating on evacuating the passengers."

Television images showed smoke rising from the crash site.

Mountainous Nepal is notorious for air accidents. Small aircraft often run into trouble at provincial airstrips.

A Thai Airways flight from Bangkok crashed while trying to land in Kathmandu in 1992 killing all on board.

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

The Bangladeshi carrier launched operations in July 2014 and operates Bombardier Inc and Boeing aircraft.

Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) authority has suspected casualty but the details are sketchy, said Kathmandu Post.

Tourism ministry’s joint secretary Suresh Acharya was quoted to have said 25 injured passengers have been rescued and sent to different hospitals for treatment.

TIA said there were 37 males, 27 females and two child onboard the aircraft.

Director general of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) Sanjiv Gautam said that the plane was out of control when it attempted to land on the runway.

“The aircraft was permitted to land from the Southern side of the runway over Koteshwor but it landed from the Northern side,” said Gautam suspecting the aircraft might have sustained some technical glitches. “We are yet to ascertain the reason behind the unusual landing,” he added.

According to TIA spokesperson PremNath Thakur, the 78-seater Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft caught fire after it careened off the runway during landing and crashed onto a football ground near TIA. The aircraft with call sign S2-AGU took off from Dhaka and landed at TIA at 2:20 pm.

Rescue team of TIA and Nepal Army personnel have been engaged in rescue operation.

All flights in and out of TIA have been cancelled following the crash.

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