Wednesday, December 19, 2018 | ePaper

US-Bangla plane crashes in Nepal

32 Bangladeshis among 50 killed; 23 hospitalized : 10 unaccounted: 13 Nepalese students feared dead

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US-Bangla plane crashes with 71 people and bursts into flames at the Tribhubon Airport in Kathmandu killing 50 passengers on Monday.

Md Joynal Abedin Khan :
At least 50 people, including 13 Nepalese students studying in a Sylhet medical college, died when a US-Bangla Airlines aircraft crashed near a football playground of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Nepal on Monday afternoon.
However, Nepal Police spokesperson Manoj Neupane confirmed a total of 40 deaths. He said 31 bodies were recovered at the crash site and nine others died in hospital.
The death toll likely to rise as 23 people were brought out of the plane and sent to nearby hospitals in critical conditions while eight  persons  were not accounted for, the police official said.
The rescued people have been taken to Kathmandu Medical College, Teaching Hospital in Sinamangal, reports media citing  Raj Kumar Chhetri, General Manager of the TIA.
Sanjiv Gautam, Director General of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, said, "The aircraft was directed to land from the southern side of the runway flying over Koteshwor but it landed from the northern side."
Noting that the aircraft may have been affected by technical glitches, he added, "We are yet to ascertain the reason behind the unusual landing. But   it might have malfunctioned due to long time service (old model)."
President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and Cabinet members expressed deep shock and sorrow at the loss of lives and injuries in the plane crash. In separate messages, they prayed for salvation of the departed souls and early recovery of the injured passengers, and conveyed their sympathy to the bereaved families.
The 76-seated aircraft Dash-8 PS211 (S2-AGU) took off around 12:30pm from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka carrying 67 passengers and four crews and landed at TIA at  14:20 local time (08:35 GMT).    
The people on board the plane included over 32 Bangladeshis and 33 Nepali nationals, one citizen of China and Maldives respectively. There were four crew members aboard the plane. The passengers included 37 men, 27 women and two children. said US-Bangla Airlines' General Manager of Marketing (support) Kamrul Islam.
Brigadier General Gokul Bhandari, the Nepal Army spokesman, told the media that 50 people had died and the fate of the others could not be known immediately while Manjo Neupane,  Deputy Inspector General ( DIG) and Nepal Police Spokesperson confirmed to Kathmandu Post that 40 people died in the crash.
The plane shot off the runway while it was about to crash into the hanger and immediately caught fire, said Prem Nath Thakur, Spokesperson of the TIA.
Many fire-fighting engines and ambulances rushed to the accident site immediately as news of the crash broke, he said.
All flights in and out of Tribhuvan International Airport have been cancelled, according to him.
Raj Kumar Chhetri, General Manager of the airport, said the black box of the aircraft was also recovered from the spot.
Amanda Summers, an American who works in Nepal, watched the crash from the terrace of her home office, not far from the airport.
"It was flying so low I thought it was going to run into the mountains," she said. "All of a sudden there was a blast and then another blast," she added.
Abdullah al Mamun, Managing Director of US-Bangla Airlines, told The New Nation around 3:20pm on Monday that they were trying to contact with the control tower of TIA to know what exactly happened to the craft.
The aircraft went off the runway during landing and crashed onto a football ground near TIA, The Kathmandu Post said quoting TIA spokesperson Prem Nath Thakur.
The aircraft caught fire following the crash. Rescue team of TIA and Nepal Army personnel have been engaged in rescue operation. Dr Abed Hossain, Principal of Ragib Rabeya Medical College in Sylhet, told The New Nation on Monday, at least 13 Nepalese student who were final year students of the college,  died in the crash. The Nepal-bound students left for their  country vacations.
A three-members probe body was formed to investigate the incident, said Air-Vice Martial M Nayeem Hasan, Chairman of Civil Aviation Authorities of Bangladesh.
US-Bangla Airlines is owned by US-Bangla Group, a joint venture company with offices in Dhaka, New York, India and other Asian hubs. It has been operating since 2014 out of its home airport in Bangladesh
On March 4, a Jessore bound US-Bangla Airline's plane made a safe emergency landing in Dhaka.
Meanwhile at least 13 Nepali students of Ragib-Rabeya Medical College Hospital in Sylhet were in the US Bangla aircraft that crashed at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Nepal Monday afternoon.
Condition of three of them are stated to be critical while two were taken to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Nepal, said Mytrayee Dev Roy, an Associate Professor of the medical college, They were returning to Kathmunda from Bangladesh after finishing their final examinations, said Roy, he said.
The condition of the students after the crash could not be known yet.  Dr Abed Hossain, Principal of Ragib Rabeya Medical College in Sylhet, told The New Nation on Monday, all feared to dead in the aircraft.
Basanta Bohora, an employee of Raswita International Travels and Tours, als said that all students might have been died in the air craft. "All of a sudden the plane shook violently and there was a loud bang afterwards," he said, "I was seated near the window and was able to break out of the window."
They are Sanjay Poudel, Sanjaya Maharjan, Neega Maharjan, Anjila Shrestha, Purnima Lohani, Sweta Thapa, Meeli Maharjan, Saruna Shrestha,
Algina Baral, Charu Baral, Samira Byanjankar, Ashna Shakya and Princy Dhami, according to the principal.

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