HIMALAYAN TRAGEDY

A plane crash in Nepal has killed at least 50 people

The wreckage.
The wreckage.
Image: Reuters/ Navesh Chitrakar
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At least 50 people are feared dead and over a dozen injured after a commercial flight from Bangladesh crash-landed at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, the Nepalese capital, according to Reuters.

This incident is likely the worst air accident in south Asia since 2012 when a Pakistani airliner crashed on the outskirts of Islamabad, killing all 127 people on board.

The March 12 flight, which took off from Dhaka, landed at the airport at 2.20pm local time but veered off the runway. The plane then hit a fence and burst into flames, Raj Kumar Chettri, general manager of the airport, told Reuters.

The aircraft, a twin Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 belonging to US-Bangla Airlines, was carrying 67 passengers and four crew members, according to the Press Trust of India. A spokesperson for the airline told news agency AFP that 33 of the passengers were Nepali, 32 were Bangladeshi, one was Chinese, and one from the Maldives.

The site of the accident was littered with debris as first respondents worked frantically to pull people out of the mangled wreckage.

“The aircraft was permitted to land from the Southern side of the runway over Koteshwor but it landed from the northern side,” Sanjiv Gautam, director general of the civil aviation authority of Nepal, told The Kathmandu Post. “We are yet to ascertain the reason behind the unusual landing.”

Basanta Bohora, a survivor, said the plane was acting unusually as it neared Kathmandu. “All of a sudden the plane shook violently and there was a loud bang afterwards,” he told The Kathmandu Post, “I was seated near the window and was able to break out of the window.”

Eyewitnesses told AFP that the plane crashed on its second attempt to land.