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49 Dead After Nepalese Airport Crash
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Photo courtesy of VOA News.

Summary: Almost 50 people died at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport in Nepal on Monday. 

On Monday, an airplane crashed and burst into flames after it approached the runway from the wrong direction. The plane was flying from Dhaka, Bangladesh, and collided at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport in Nepal, according to CNN.


Officials said that at least 49 people were killed on Flight BS 211. The carrier was US-Bangla Airlines, a private company based in Bangladesh.

The airplane held 71 passengers, which included crew. Forty bodies were recovered from the crash site, and there are 22 survivors. Nine people died in the hospital.

The majority of passengers were Nepalese and Bangladeshi, but there was one passenger from China and one from the Maldives.

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A source told CNN that the plane approached the runway from the wrong direction, and this is what caused the fatal accident.

“The plane had permission to land from the southern side of the runway but they instead landed from the northern side. Authorities do not know why they did not land from the southern side,” the official said.

Another official told NBC News that the pilot said everything was “OK” when it wasn’t.

“The airplane was not properly aligned with the runway. The tower repeatedly asked if the pilot was OK and the reply was yes,” Raj Kumar Chetri, general manager of Tribhuvan International Airport, told NBC News.

A retired American living in the city, Amanda Summers, told CNN that she saw the plane “flying at a very low altitude.”

“It was flying northwards and it was much too low. I thought at first that maybe it was extra cloud cover that was forcing the plane to fly low. Then I saw the plane change direction almost completely and it was flying straight towards us. Then it lost more altitude and finally crashed,” Summers said. “I saw one spark, or flash. Then seconds later I saw another bigger one. It was almost as if the plane might have bounced. Then no more light but a tall billow of thick black smoke rose in the air.”

Nitin Keyal, a traveler who was at the airport at the time, said that it was clear the plane was not landing in a normal way.

“It was flying very low,” said Keyal. “Everyone just froze looking at it. You could tell it wasn’t a normal landing.”

According to NBC News, “Kathmandu’s airport has been the site of several deadly crashes. In September 2012, a Sita Air turboprop plane carrying trekkers to Mount Everest hit a bird and crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 19 on board.”

What do you think caused the pilot to make this choice? Let us know in the comments below.


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