- A plane carrying 71 people crashed near an airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Monday.
- It crashed, veered off the runway, stopped in a nearby field, and burst into flames.
- The plane, a twin-propeller passenger craft, was arriving from Bangladesh.
- Officials have brought the death toll up to 49; reports indicated there were nearly two dozen survivors.
At least 49 people have died after a commercial plane crashed near an airport in Nepal on Monday.
Police spokesman Manoj Neupane confirmed the updated fatalities late Monday, the Washington Post reported. The remaining 22 survivors were still being treated at three hospitals, he added.
The plane, operated by the Bangladeshi airline US-Bangla, veered off the runway while landing at the Tribhuvan International Airport in the capital of Kathmandu shortly after 2 p.m. local time.
The twin-propeller Bombardier Dash 8 had been carrying 67 passengers and four crew members from Dhaka, Bangladesh.
A survivor of the crash, Basanta Bohara, said the two-hour flight went as planned until the aircraft began “acting strangely” as it began its descent into Kathmandu, the Post reported.
Bohara, a Nepali tour operator, said the plane appeared to be wobbling before it crash-landed into a field near the airport and catching fire, according to the Post.
“Thank God I was able to escape through a cracked window,” Bohara told reporters at the Norvic International Hospital, where he was being treated along with several other survivors. “I hope I will survive now.”
Tribhuvan International Airport had closed for a few hours on Monday before reopening.
General manager of Tribhuvan International Airport, Raj Kumar Chhetri, told reporters at a press conference on Monday afternoon there was a “problem” with the plane’s landing alignment.
Chhetri said air traffic control ordered the aeroplane not to land, but there was no response from the pilot. The US-Bangla plane missed hitting a parked aircraft on the tarmac before crashing into a field on the eastern side of the the airport, the Post reported.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) March 12, 2018
US-Bangla Airlines CEO Imran Asif told reporters he disputed the details of the fateful call between air traffic control and the pilot.
“A three-minute conversation between the pilot and the air traffic control before the landing indicated that they sent wrong signal to the pilot,” Asif said, according to local online news site bdnews24.com.
Footage from the scene showed a plume of black smoke arising from the wreckage and dozens of firefighters, troops, and emergency personnel attending.
#BREAKING #Nepal: A US-Bangla airlines aircraft has crashed in the eastern side of the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in the #Kathmandu on Monday. Details yet to come. https://t.co/qsxgS4w3sG pic.twitter.com/ODr8L2xS9X
— Pradeep BASHYAL (@pdpbasyal) March 12, 2018
Video shows firefighters at the site of a plane crash at Kathmandu airport in Nepal as the rescue operation continues. There were 67 passengers onboard, with 17 rescued so far. https://t.co/AUQEPjGPqw pic.twitter.com/lbfX2bhn98
— ABC News (@ABC) March 12, 2018
The aircraft was 17 years old, Reuters reported.
Nepal is a landlocked, mountainous region with a poor record of air safety.
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