KATHMANDU : An aircraft of the US-Bangla Airlines with 67 passengers and four members on board crash-landed at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) here on Monday, leaving casualties and injuring 17 people. TIA spokesperson Prem Nath Thakur said 25 people were rescued and sent to hospitals, out of which eight were pronounced dead on arrival. The death toll was likely to increase as rescue operations were continuing.
Thakur said the 78-seater Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft veered off the runway while landing at 2.20 p.m. and crashed into the ground near the airport, catching fire, the Kathmandu Post reported.
A thick plume of smoke rose into the sky. Authorities immediately ordered the airport shut.
Director General of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal Sanjiv Gautam said the plane lost control when it attempted to land on the runway.
"The aircraft was permitted to land from the southern side of the runway flying over Koteshwor but it landed from the northern side," said Gautam, adding that the aircraft might have sustained some technical glitches.
"We are yet to ascertain the reason behind the unusual landing," he said.
Photos and videos posted on social media showed smoke rising from the airport runway.
Witnesses said the plane crashed when trying to take a sharp turn on the runway, My Republica reported.
"I saw the plane make a sharp turn over the terminal back towards south and then disappeared towards the runway. Then immediately a large plume of smoke was seen," said Arnico Pandey, adding that the plane was flying very low, just enough to be above the control tower.
At least 33 Nepali passengers were on board the plane, according to officials. All flights in and out of Tribhuvan International Airport were cancelled.
The US-Bangla Airlines is a privately-owned Bangladeshi airline headquartered in Dhaka. This is a major air crash at the TIA airport after a Turkish Airlines flight crash-landed in March 2015.