Of the 71 passengers and crew, 49 lost their lives after a plane crashed upon landing in the South Asian country.
One can only imagine the scene at Kathmandu Tribhuvan airport minutes after a plane veered off the runway and went up in flames. Flying in from Dhaka, the US-Bangla plane was carrying 67 passengers and 4 crew members when it landed ‘on the wrong side’ of the runway and went up in flames.
According to news reports, the pilot of this Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop had over 5,000 flight hours under his belt and was an instructor for this type of aircraft. There has since been a throw of blame by both the airport control tower and airline over what caused the fumble.
News reports have stated that there were 33 Nepalis, 32 Bangladeshis, 1 Chinese and 1 Maldivian on board. A total of 40 bodies were recovered at the scene. Nine individuals died in hospital, another 22 passengers are receiving treatment.
Authorities have recovered the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, and Nepal’s prime minister KP Sharma Oli has announced an immediate investigation.
However, it appears that a misunderstanding occurred between pilot and air traffic control tower. The Nepali Times released audio of the conversation between control tower and aircraft before the crash.
Of the 22 survivors (11 Bangladeshi and 11 Nepali) currently in hospital, a few have shared their firsthand accounts of what transpired with news organisations. After the aircraft began violently shaking and passengers realised something was wrong, people started crying and chanting.
The BBC reported that Sanam Shakya, a survivor, talked about how the plane was moving in all directions.
“The plane was going up down, right and left, up down. So I thought that was some air traffic only. But I came to know that the aircraft had a problem only when it forcibly landed,” Shakya told AFP.
This tragedy is Nepal’s worst in many years, but the Himalayan nation hasn’t had the best air safety record. There have been more than 40 crashes involving planes or helicopters since 1949.
Featured Image Credit: AP