Kathmandu airport crash: At least 40 dead as US-Bangla plane veers off runway

Media captionFootage of the site where the US-Bangla plane came to rest

A plane carrying 71 passengers and crew has crashed on landing at Nepal’s Kathmandu airport, killing 49 people, according to police.

Rescuers pulled bodies from the charred wreckage of the plane, operated by Bangladeshi airline US-Bangla, after a raging fire was put out.

Flight BS211 veered off the runway while landing on Monday afternoon.

One survivor who managed to break through a window says the aircraft gave a violent shake, followed by a bang.

Offering his condolences, Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli promised an immediate investigation.

Twenty-two people are being treated in hospital for injuries, police spokesperson Manoj Neupane told the BBC’s Nepali service.

He said eight people earlier reported to be missing are now presumed dead by the authorities.

The plane, which was flying from the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, was a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop and was 17 years old.

How did the disaster unfold?

The plane landed at 14:20 local time (08:35 GMT), according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24.

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Image caption

Firefighters had to put out a blaze on the wrecked plane

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Bishnu Sapkota

“The aircraft was permitted to land from the southern side of the runway flying over Koteshwor, but it landed from the northern side,” Sanjiv Gautam, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, was quoted as saying by the Kathmandu Post.

“We are yet to ascertain the reason behind the unusual landing.”

Airport general manager Raj Kumar Chettri told Reuters news agency that the plane hit the airport fence before touching the ground.

The plane caught fire and a plume of smoke could be seen above the airport.

One of the survivors, Nepalese travel agent Basanta Bohora, described from his hospital bed what he had experienced.

After a normal take-off from Dhaka, the plane had begun to behave strangely as it approached Kathmandu, he said.

“All of a sudden the plane shook violently and there was a loud bang afterwards,” he was quoted as saying by the Kathmandu Post.

“I was seated near the window and was able to break out of the window,” he added.

“I have no recollection after I got out of the plane, someone took me to Sinamangal Hospital, and from there my friends brought me to Norvic [Hospital]. I have injuries to my head and legs, but I am fortunate that I survived.”

What do we know of the casualties?

The plane was carrying 67 passengers and four crew.

It is now known that 33 of the passengers were Nepalis, 32 were Bangladeshi, one was Chinese and one was from the Maldives.

Among the 22 people injured, some are in a critical condition.

Is there any indication of the cause of the crash?

The cause was not immediately clear. The pilot told flight controllers that everything was OK soon before landing, but did not reply when told his alignment was not correct, airport manager Mr Chettri told Reuters.

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