AFP

KATHMANDU,  March 13: A high level Bangladeshi delegation team led by Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism AKM Shahjahan Kamal and Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali is arriving at Kathmandu today to probe into the US-Bangla airline crash that killed 49 people and left 22 injured on Monday, sources confirmed.

The delegation will also take stock of the dead and injured in the place crash.

The 78-seater Flight BS 211, carrying 33 were Nepali, 32 Bangladeshi, one Chinese and one Maldivian nationals, crashed while landing at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and immediately caught fire. The plane was carrying 71 people including four crew members.

Of the 22 survivors, 11 are Nepali while 11 are Bangladeshi nationals.

CONFUSION IN COCKPIT

Following the incident, TIA General Manager organizing a press conference said that the crash took place due to unusual landing. He said that the pilot disregarded their messages came in the wrong direction.

According to Chhetri moments after the place received permission to land, the pilot said he wanted to go in a northern direction. When asked by the control tower if there was a problem, the pilot replied in the negative.

The plane then made two rounds in a northeast direction, Chettri said adding the traffic controllers again asked the pilot if things were OK, and he replied,“Yes”.

The tower then told the pilot his alignment was not correct, but there was no reply, Chettri added.

“The plane should have come from the right direction,” Chettri said, adding that it hit the airport fence, touched the ground and then caught fire.

However, the Chief Executive officer of US-Bangla Airlines, Imran Asif, have accused Kathmandu’s air traffic control for giving wrong signals, which led to the crash.

RADIO CONVERSATION

Although, it is still not clear what caused the crash, apparently, there was confusion in the cockpit. According to a recording to the radio conversation between the Flight 211 pilot and the air traffic controller (ATC), the controller is heard warning the pilot not to proceed towards Runway 20 and asked to hold its usual position.

The pilot replies, “Ok we are making an orbit to the right. Copied.”

After the Bombardier has apparently taken a right orbit, the ATC asks the pilot if he wants to land on Runway 02 or 20. The pilot says “We would like to land on 20”. The pilot gets the permission to land on that end of the runway. The Bombardier says: “Copied.”

The ATC then asks the pilot if he has the runway in sight, he replies “Negative”.

The ATC asks him to turn right. But then immediately, the pilot says, “Affirmative, we have the runway in sight.” The pilot requests clearance to land and the ATC approves.

However, at that point, the pilot says, “Cleared to land Runaway 02” (even though he had sought permission for 20).The ATC clears him to land on Runway 02.

The radio conversation is heard after some silence, “[Unintelligeble ] said sir, are we cleared to land?” After some silence, the clearly alarmed ATC controller shouts, “I say again, turn…!”. There is silence for a while, then the ATC shouts ‘Fire One’, indicating that a crash has occurred and the airport fire tender has been activated. The time of the crash has been noted as 2:18 pm. Then the runway is closed.

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