A US-Bangla Airlines plane has crashed in Kathmandu, Nepal, multiple media outlets are reporting. Flight BS211 out of Dhaka, Bangladesh, was landing at Kathmandu’s airport when the crash took place.
Officials told CBS News that the airplane, a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 twin turboprop, was carrying 71 people when it attempted to land at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport. The plane reportedly swerved in the air repeatedly on its approach, and then overshot the runway on landing and caught fire.
Local police told the BBC that the crash killed 49 people, and that 22 others are being treated for injuries. The airline has blamed directions from the airport’s air traffic control for the crash, but airport officials said that the plane, which is 17 years old, was behaving unusually.
“There were wrong directions from the tower,” US-Bangla Airlines Chief Executive Imran Asif told the BBC. “Our pilot was not at fault.”
“The aircraft was permitted to land from the southern side of the runway flying over Koteshwor, but it landed from the northern side,” Sanjiv Gautam, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, told the BBC. “We are yet to ascertain the reason behind the unusual landing.”
One of the survivors, a Nepalese travel agent named Basanta Bohora, said that the plane had begun behaving strangely as it approached the Kathmandu airport.
“All of a sudden the plane shook violently and there was a loud bang afterwards,” Bohora told the Kathmandu Post. “I was seated near the window and was able to break out of the window.”
The airline has set up a hotline for further information regarding passengers on the flight at 01777777766.
US-Bangla Airlines is a joint U.S.-Bangladeshi venture operating out of Bangladesh since 2014. It has offices in Dhaka, New York, India and other hubs throughout Asia.