Even as the government of Nepal has formed a six-member panel to investigate into the shocking crash-landing of a US-Bangla Airlines aircraft on Monday that killed 49 people, the mystery over the one responsible for the incident is deepening. Reports say the fatal accident may have happened because of “confusion” over the path of the plane.
The Kathmandu Post reports that Flight BS 211 was allowed to land from the southern side (runway 02) of the Kathmandu airport but it “abruptly” changed route and proceeded towards runway 20, which is towards the northern end of the airport.
As per the conversation between the pilot of Flight 211 and air traffic controller (ATC), posted on air traffic monitoring website liveatc.net, the pilot of BS 211 was warned initially against proceeding towards the northern end of the airport and requested to hold the usual position.
The pilot had said that they were making an orbit towards the right but soon replied that they were holding for runway 02 on the southern side. The ATC then asked the pilot not to land as another aircraft was approaching. At this point of time in the conversation, Nepali pilots on the ground are also heard warning the ATC that the US-Bangla flight appears to be “disoriented” and it should be assisted by radars as the visibility was bad.
After this, the ATC is heard as asking BS 211 pilot if he would like to land on runway 2 or 20. The pilot replied he would like to land on runway 20. The ATC then cleared the flight for landing but asked if the runway was visible. The pilot initially answered “negative” and he was asked to turn right, he replied in “affirmative”, saying the runway was in sight.
An official said that the aircraft flew over the hanger of Nepal Airlines and almost touched the ATC control tower. In the conversation, an alarming sound of the ATC can be heard, suggesting they had seen the aircraft almost touching the tower. After this, the ATC can be heard shouting, “fire” suggesting the crash.
An official said that the aircraft had not declared an emergency, suggesting that either the pilot was “disoriented” or the aircraft had some serious malfunction.
Other aircraft following the US-Bangla aircraft had told ATC that Flight 211 was behaving “abnormal” or it was “unstable.”
Kathmandu airport general manager Raj Kumar Chetri told reporters, “The airplane was not properly aligned with the runway. The tower repeatedly asked if the pilot was OK and the reply was `yes,”’ Raj Kumar Chetri said.
As per a BBC report, the US-Bangla Airlines has blamed the Kathmandu ATC for the crash. The Airlines’ CEO Imran Asif told reporters that the ATC had given wrong directions and the pilot was not at fault.