A plane crash at Nepal`s main airport killed 49 of the 71 people on board, police said on Tuesday, as an investigation was ordered into the cause of an accident that occurred after apparent confusion over landing instructions.
The plane, which was coming from Bangladesh, was flying low and erratically before striking the ground and erupting in flames on Monday. US-Bangla Airlines Flight BS211 from Dhaka to Kathmandu was carrying 67 passengers and four crew members.
In a recording posted by air traffic monitoring website liveatc.net, the pilot asked for permission to land from the north, which an air traffic controller granted. Less than a minute later, the pilot said he was ready to land from the south, and the controller cleared the plane to land from that direction.
A separate conversation between the tower and a Nepali pilot added to the sense of miscommunication between the controllers and the pilot of the Bangladeshi plane before the crash.
“Looks like they are really confused,” one man says in Nepali, talking about Flight BS211.
“They appear to be extremely disoriented,” another man says.
Just before landing, the pilot asks, “Are we cleared to land?”
Moments later, the controller comes back on, using a panicked tone rarely heard in such conversations, and tells the pilot, “I say again, turn!”