Kathmandu Airport crash - many feared dead

Kathmandu Airport crash - many feared dead

Kathmandu Airport crash - many feared dead

A Bangladeshi plane carrying 71 passengers and crew has crashed while coming into land at Kathmandu's worldwide airport, with police saying at least 38 people have been killed and 23 injured.

Eyewitnesses said the plane crashed as it made a second approach towards the airport, bursting into flames after coming to a halt in a football pitch next to the runway.

"All of a sudden the plane shook violently and there was a loud bang", Basanta Bohora, one of the survivors, told Kathmandu Post at Norvic Hospital.

The aircraft had taken off from Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka.

However, mountainous Nepal is notorious for aircraft accidents in the past.

An AP journalist who arrived at the scene soon after the crash saw the 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.

In February 2016, 23 people were killed when a small plane crashed on a mountainside in western Nepal.

"I have no other details", said an employee, who works at the US-Bangla offices.

Of the 67 passengers, 32 were from Bangladesh, 33 were from Nepal, one was from China and another was from the Maldives.

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The plane was then seen making two rounds in a northeast direction, Chettri said.

The exact cause of the crash remains unclear and Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli promised an immediate investigation.

"The last recorded words of the US-Bangla pilot is: "[Unintelligible] said sir, are we cleared to land?"

The plane, which was flying from the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, was a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop and was 17 years old.

A recording of the conversations between the pilot and air traffic controllers indicated confusion over which direction the plane should land.

There have been many aviation incidents in Nepal but this is the deadliest since a Pakistan International Airlines plane crashed on approach in September 1992, killing all 167 on board.

The Dhaka-based US-Bangla Airlines launched just four years ago and made its first worldwide flight in May 2016 to Kathmandu.

In July 2016, the airline announced plans to phase in its first two Boeing 737-800 aircraft in September of the same year and to subsequently launched new worldwide routes, for example to Singapore and Dubai by the end of 2016. The incident occurred during the landing but there were no injuries reported.

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