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US-Bangla plane crash: Nepal airport authorities recover black box


(G.N.S) Dt. 13
New Delhi
A plane crash at Nepal’s main airport killed 49 of the 71 people on board, police said Tuesday, as an investigation was ordered into the cause of an accident that occurred after apparent confusion over landing instructions. The plane, which was coming from Bangladesh, was flying low and erratically before striking the ground and erupting in flames on Monday. US-Bangla Airlines Flight BS211 from Dhaka to Kathmandu was carrying 67 passengers and four crew members. In a recording posted by air traffic monitoring website liveatc.net, the pilot asked for permission to land from the north, which an air traffic controller granted. Less than a minute later, the pilot said he was ready to land from the south, and the controller cleared the plane to land from that direction.
A separate conversation between the tower and a Nepali pilot added to the sense of miscommunication between the controllers and the pilot of the Bangladeshi plane before the crash.
A day after a US-Bangla Airlines passenger plane enroute Dhaka crashed in Kathmandu, airport authorities Tuesday recovered the black box from the remains of the aircraft. At least 49 people were killed of the 71 people on board on Monday, as the pilot tried to land at the Tribhuvan International Airport. On crashing on a football field just beyond the airport, the aircraft burst into flames. While an investigation into the accident is underway.
“The flight data recorder has been recovered and we have kept it safely,” Raj Kumar Chettri, the airport’s general manager, was quoted as saying by Reuters. The electronic recording device will help authorities ascertain what led to the crash.
As per initial reports, the pilot navigated through half of the 3-kilometre runway, before turning to a different direction than what he was meant to land on. Sources told a daily newspaper that this was a result of some confusion between the Air Control tower and the pilot, who veered on an unusual route while trying land — North to South instead of South to North.
The nationalities of those on board were later identified; there were 33 Nepalese, 32 Bangladeshis and one Chinese and Maldivian national, apart from four crew members.
Authorities recover black box from site of Nepal plane crash Basanta Bohara, 27, a survivor of the US-Bangla plane crash, in a hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Monday.
On visiting the crash site on Monday, Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli said his government would order an inquiry into the cause of the accident. In a statement, the Prime Minister said he has constituted a six-member team, headed by a former government secretary, to look into the incident and determine the cause, reported The Associated Press. The team will also look into ways to prevent future crashes.
The Kathmandu airport has seen several crashes in the past, the most recent one being in 2012. A Sita Air turboprop plane ferrying trekkers to Mount Everest hit a bird shortly after takeoff and crashed. All 19 on board were killed. Monday’s crash halted operations at the airport — domestic and international — for nearly three hours.
An eyewitness, Nitin Keyal, said, “It was flying very low. Everyone just froze looking at it. You could tell it wasn’t a normal landing. For a few minutes, no one could believe what was happening.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter yesterday and expressed anguish at the loss of lives in the plane crash in Kathmandu. “My thoughts are with the families of the deceased and I pray that those injured recover at the earliest,” he tweeted.

(Box) Pilot wasn’t at fault in Kathmandu plane crash: Bangladesh airline (Box)

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US-Bangla Airlines says the pilot wasn’t at fault in the plane crash at Nepal airport leaving dozens killed.
Captain Abid Sultan, who was rescued in a critical condition, has also died, the airline confirmed on Tuesday.
“We did not find any problem from the captain’s end,” US-Bangla spokesperson Kamrul Islam told the media in Dhaka.
“He has flown the Dash-8 Q400 aircraft for 1,700 hours. He has logged over 5,000 flight hours in the Bangladeshi aviation industry; over a hundred landings in Kathmandu. He was quite familiar with the airfield and the aircraft. We do not think, the captain had any fault.”
At least 49 people died on Monday after the Bangladeshi airliner crashed in cloudy weather as it flew in to land at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.
Seventy-one people were on board the plane arriving from Dhaka when it clipped the fence of the runway and burst into flames.
The last four minutes of the conversation between the pilot and air traffic control or ATC indicated a possible confusion in the mind of the pilot about the runway.
Describing the conversation as “vital evidence”, US-Bangla official Islam said that the black box has been recovered.
“We have heard the YouTube audio and there is definitely confusion … We have said that it’s possible to be misguided from the ATC in such cases. It will take a bit time to recover the data from the black box,” he said.
Tribhuvan airport authorities, however, has said the pilot came in from the wrong direction to the runway.
Nepali authorities have recovered the black box of the 16-year-old aircraft and opened on inquiry.
Senior US-Bangla officials, including the CEO along with 46 members of crash victims’ families have reached Kathmandu, said Islam.
He said the bodies will be handed over to the families in due process and that the US-Bangla Airlines will bear the cost of treatment of the survivors.
Dismissing media reports on a dispute between Captain Abid Sultan and the airlines, Islam described it as a “wrong message”.
“The authority has no right to pressure pilots, if they consider themselves ‘not fit for the fly’ even at the cockpit, when they are about start the aircraft. These messages (reports) are incorrect and misleading.”
Over the 2015 mishap of a US-Bangla domestic flight at the Syedpur airport, Islam said, “There is no link between that flight and the Nepal incident. They are different aircraft.”

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