US-Bangla Plane Crashes in Nepal

Thomas Cojocar - 1N Mechanical
Posted on: March 23, 2018

On 12 March 2018, a US-Bangla Airlines airplane crashed on approach to Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Flight 211, a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, was carrying 4 crew and 67 passengers. 20 people survived the crash, while 51 lost their lives. This is the deadliest crash involving the Dash 8 Q400 and the worst accident involving a Bangladeshi airline.

At 12:52 local time, the aircraft left from Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. No incidents were reported during the take-off and cruising stages of the flight.

Air crash investigators noted that during the plane’s descent to land, the pilot and control tower were miscommunicating and arguing. The plane was initially instructed to land on runway 02 but approached runway 20. This confusion continued until the moment of landing.

The plane touched down at 14:18 local time and immediately skidded off the runway. It then careened into the perimeter fencing and onto an adjacent soccer field, which was empty at the time. The aircraft broke into many pieces and caught fire soon after.

Eyewitnesses say the aircraft was misaligned with the runway when coming in to land. This likely resulted from the miscommunication between the pilots and the air traffic control tower.

Survivors say the plane shook violently when it landed and that they heard loud explosions. Investigators will use this information to try and find the cause of the crash.

Emergency response personnel were on the scene instantly and extinguished the fires in 15 minutes. Those critically injured, 31 in total, were taken to hospitals across Kathmandu. Eight bodies were initially found among the wreckage, a number that increased by 32 at the conclusion of the rescue operation. In total, 51 people died, 40 of them on scene and 11 in hospitals.

As a result of the crash, the airport was shut down for three hours.

Of the 71 people on board, 65 were adult travelers, two were children, and four were crew members. Abid Sultan, the captain, was a former Bangladeshi Air Force pilot. Prithula Rashid, the first officer, was the first female pilot in the history of US-Bangla airlines.

The captain had 22 years of experience and had a total of 1700 hours of flying time in the Dash 8 Q400. The airline stated that he had landed in Kathmandu more than one hundred times. He initially survived the crash but succumb to his injuries hours later.

First officer Rashid survived the crash and helped with the evacuation of other survivors, but also died of her injuries in hospital.

The investigation into the cause of the crash has begun, with the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal reporting that the flight recorders (“black boxes”) had been recovered. Officials are also investigating and recording eyewitness accounts of the crash. The recovery operations have become a national incident, with Nepali Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli visiting the crash site to oversee the progress.

The very same aircraft, registered as S2-AGU, had been involved in an incident in Saidpur, Bangladesh when it over-ran the runway in 2015. No injuries were reported in that accident and the plane returned to service eight hours later.





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