An aircraft of the US-Bangla Airlines with 67 passengers and four members crash-landed at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) here on Monday, triggering fears of fatalities, officials said.
TIA spokesperson Prem Nath Thakur said the 78-seater Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft veered off the runway while landing at 2.20 p.m. and crashed onto a 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.
Twenty-five injured passengers were rescued and sent to hospitals, said Tourism Ministry’s Joint Secretary Suresh Acharya.
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 video posted on social media showed smoke rising from the airport runway. Witnesses said the plane crashed when trying to take a short turn on 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.
All flights in and out of the Tribhuvan International Airport were cancelled.