Nepal plane crash: 50 people killed at Kathmandu airport

A passenger plane has crashed while attempting to land at Kathmandu’s main airport, killing at least 50 people and injuring dozens more, according to officials in Nepal.

The US-Bangla Airlines flight from Dhaka “made an unexpected turn in cloudy weather as it came in to land” on Monday afternoon, Reuters reports. There were 71 people on board, including four crew members.

Aviation officials told The Kathmandu Post that the aircraft approached the runway from the wrong side, before clipping a fence, crashing into a nearby football field and bursting into flames.

“The aircraft was permitted to land from the southern side of the runway […], but it landed from the northern side,” said Sanjiv Gautam, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

“We are yet to ascertain the reason behind the unusual landing,” he added.

A total of 22 people are being treated in hospital, with some in a critical condition, police spokesperson Manoj Neupane told the BBC’s Nepali service.

Of the passengers onboard, 33 were from Nepal, 32 were Bangladeshi, one was Chinese and one was from the Maldives.

A survivor said the plane “shook violently” followed by a loud bang. “I was seated near a window and was able to break out of the window,” Nepalese travel agent Basanta Bohora said from hospital.

“I have no recollection after I got out of the plane,” he said. “I have injuries to my head and legs, but I am fortunate that I survived.”

Nepal’s aviation safety record has come under scrutiny on several occasions, with an average of around one crash per year since 1949.

In 1992, a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok crashed while trying to land in Kathmandu, killing all 167 passengers on board.

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