A survivor of a plane crash near Kathmandu’s international airport said Monday that the US-Bangla Airlines plane began “behaving strangely” on descent before it crash-landed, killing at least 49 people.
Basanta Bohara, a Nepali tour operator, said the nearly two-hour flight from Bangladesh’s capital was uneventful until the plane began to wobble on its descent into Kathmandu, hitting a field near the airport and catching fire.
“Thank God I was able to escape through a cracked window,” Bohara said in an interview at Norvic International Hospital, not far from the airport, where he was taken with several other injured passengers. “I hope I will survive now.”
Authorities said the 78-seat airplane caught fire after crash-landing around 2:20 p.m. Monday and breaking into large pieces. The twin-propeller Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft was carrying 67 passengers and four crew members. A police spokesman, Manoj Neupane, said that 49 people died and that 22 injured were being treated at three hospitals.
Raj Kumar Chhetri, general manager of Tribhuvan International Airport, said at a news conference Monday afternoon that there was a “problem” with the landing alignment of the aircraft and that when air traffic control ordered the plane not to land, “there was no response from the pilot.” The plane narrowly missed hitting a parked aircraft and crashed in the airport compound on the eastern side, he said.