Plane "Behaved Strangely" Before Crash Near Nepal Airport, Says Survivor

The 78-seater airplane caught fire after a crash landing around 2:20 p.m. Monday afternoon.

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Plane 'Behaved Strangely' Before Crash Near Nepal Airport, Says Survivor

At least 49 people died in the plane crash near Kathmandu airport

Kathmandu, Nepal:  A survivor of the plane crash at Kathmandu's international airport said Monday that the US-Bangla Airlines plane began "behaving strangely" on descent before crash-landing near the airport, killing at least 49 people.

Basanta Bohara, a Nepali tour operator who went to Bangladesh for training, said that the hour and 40-minute flight from Bangladesh's capital was uneventful until the plane began to wobble on its descent into Kathmandu, hitting a football field near the airport with a huge sound and catching fire.

"Thank God I was able to escape through a cracked window," Bohara said at an interview at Norvic International Hospital near the airport, where he was taken with several other injured passengers. "I hope I will survive now."

Authorities said that the 78-seater airplane, from a private airline based in Bangladesh, caught fire after a crash landing around 2:20 p.m. Monday afternoon. The aircraft had taken off earlier in the day from Bangladesh's capital city of Dhaka. There were believed to be about three dozen Nepali citizens on board out of 71 passengers and crew; the Kathmandu-Dhaka route is popular with migrant workers making their way to jobs in the Gulf states.

The spokesman for police, Manoj Neupane, said at least 49 died in the crash and the 22 wounded were being treated at three nearby hospitals.

Witnesses described a chaotic rescue operation in a football field near the Tribhuvan International Airport, as rescue personnel and soldiers from the Nepal's army pulled survivors from the wreckage and a thick plume of black smoke covered the sky. The airport was closed for a few hours before being reopened.

Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal director general Sanjiv Gautam told the Indian newspaper the Hindustan Times that the aircraft was supposed to land from the southern side of the runway but it landed from the northern side.

"We are yet to ascertain the reason behind the unusual landing," he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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