Nepal plane crash kills 49 of 71 aboard


KATHMANDU, Nepal -- A plane crash at Nepal's main airport killed 49 people among the 71 on board, police said today.

The pilot did not follow the control tower's instructions and approached the airport's one runway from the wrong direction, the Kathmandu airport's general manager said.

"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.

The plane had circled Tribhuvan International Airport twice Monday as it waited for clearance to land, Mohammed Selim, the airline's manager in Kathmandu, told Dhaka-based Somoy TV by telephone.

But a recording posted by air traffic monitoring website liveatc.net indicates confusion over the landing direction before the plane, flying low and erratically, struck the ground and erupted in flames.

In the recording, just before landing, the pilot asks, "Are we cleared to land?"

Moments later, the controller, using a tone rarely heard in air traffic, tells the pilot: "I say again, turn!"

Seconds later, the controller orders firetrucks onto the runway.

US-Bangla Airlines spokesman Kamrul Islam said today that the plane, flight BS211 from Dhaka to Kathmandu, was carrying four crew members and 67 passengers -- 32 from Bangladesh, 33 from Nepal and one each from China and the Maldives. He did not provide the nationalities of the four crew members.

Police spokesman Manoj Neupane said that 49 people were confirmed

A Section on 03/13/2018

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