At least 49 people were killed when the Bangladeshi plane crashed and burst into flames near Kathmandu airport in the worst aviation disaster to hit Nepal in nearly three decades. Officials said there were 71 people on board the US-Bangla Airlines turboprop plane from Dhaka when it crashed just east of the runway and skidded into a nearby football field.
Rescuers cut apart the mangled and charred wreckage of the upturned aircraft to pull people out, while other passengers were found buried under debris that scattered as the plane hit the ground.
“Forty people died at the spot and nine died at two hospitals in Kathmandu,” police spokesman Manoj Neupane told AFP, adding another 22 were being treated in hospital, some in a critical condition.The Dhaka-based US-Bangla Airlines is a private carrier that launched in July 2014 with the motto “Fly Fast Fly Safe”.
The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, but a statement from airport authorities said the plane was “out of control” as it came in to land.
Meanwhile, the CEO of US-Bangla Airlines Imran Asif laid blame on Kathmandu’s air traffic control, saying the controller “fumbled” the landing.
“Our pilot is an instructor of this Bombardier aircraft. His flight hours are over 5,000 hours. There was a fumble from the control tower,” Asif told reporters outside the airline’s offices in Dhaka.