Nepal plane crash: Bangladesh team arrives in Kathmandu

Kathmandu, Nepal Published: Mar 13, 2018, 11:06 AM(IST)

There were 71 people on board the plane. In photo: Rescue workers at the site of the crash. Photograph:( Reuters )

A high-level delegation from Bangladesh today arrived here to discuss with Nepalese officials the issues related to a crash involving a US-Bangla Airlines aircraft that killed 49 people.

The Bangla delegation includes Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism A K M Shahjahan Kamal, Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali and senior aviation officials, My Republica reported.

The team will meet the survivors of the crash and also discuss the possible reasons for the accident with Nepali authorities, amid reports of confusion between the air traffic control and the pilot of the ill-fated plane.

The Dhaka to Kathmandu US-Bangla Airlines flight, with 67 passengers and four crew members on board, caught fire after it careened off the runway and ploughed into a football ground near the Tribhuvan International Airport yesterday, killing 49 people.

Meanwhile, six officers stationed at the Air Traffic Control Tower who witnessed the air crash have been shifted to another department to "minimise the shock of the accident," the paper said.

"This is a standard procedure to release stress after a fateful incident. They witnessed a huge disaster and they are shocked. Hence, we have transferred them to other departments to reduce their stress post-crash," said Rajan Pokharel, deputy director general at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

Pokharel also clarified that the transfer was not due to the leaks of audio conversations between ATC and the pilot before the accident.

The airline and airport authorities have blamed each other for the tragedy, the worst in the country in 25 years after it emerged that there was confusion over landing instructions.

There were 33 Nepalese nationals on board flight UBG 211, a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400. Others include 32 Bangladeshis, one Chinese and one Maldivian.

A six-member committee led by former director general at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal Yagya Prasad Gautam has been formed by Nepal to probe the accident.

The panel has been assigned to initiate an investigation as early as possible.

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