Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Finance | By Jaime Brady

49 killed in Nepal plane crash

49 killed in Nepal plane crash

Neupane said 31 bodies were pulled out from the wreckage of the crashed plane while 18 others died in hospitals.

There were 71 people on the aircraft, including 67 passengers and four crew members.

Survivors and witnesses of a plane crash in Nepal have described scenes of chaos when the aircraft went down, killing at least 49 people.

Nepal army spokesman Brigadier General Gokul Bhandari said 50 people had died and the fate of the others was unknown.

Rajkumar Chhetri, general manager at Tribhuvan International Airport, said there may have been more deaths had a fire in the wreckage not been extinguished in a timely manner.

"There is certainly considerable confusion from air traffic as to which runway the aircraft actually wants to land on", said Britain-based aviation expert Andrew Blackie, who has reviewed the recordings.

It is Nepal s only global airport and experts say the mountainous landscape with the towering Himalayas to the north poses difficulties for pilots coming in to land.

Thick plumes of smoke could be seen from the aircraft at the Tribhuvan International Airport.

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The exact number of dead and injured remained unclear amid the chaos of the crash and the rush of badly injured people to nearby hospitals, but Brig.

The aircraft had taken off from Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. Airport officials said the numbers were quoted for a clear understanding of the particular approach.

The passengers included 33 from Nepal, 32 from Bangladesh, and one each from China and the Maldives.

In Dhaka, US-Bangla Airlines CEO Imran Asif said a conversation between the pilot, Abid Sultan, and the air traffic control or ATC of the airport indicated that the ATC sent "wrong signals to the pilot".

Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli spoke to his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina following the incident and expressed sorrow over the loss of lives. The airport was reopened later. Just two months earlier, a Thai Airways aircraft crashed near the same airport, killing 113 people.

Kathmandu airport lies in a bowl-shaped valley with the Himalayas to the north, making it a notoriously challenging place to land.

Nepal has been hit by air crashes in recent years, highlighting poor safety in the Himalayan country.

In March 2015, a Turkish Airlines flight crash-landed at Nepal's only global airport with no casualties.

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