US-Bangla Airlines Flight 211
US-Bangla Airlines Flight 211 (BS211/UBG211) was a scheduled international passenger flight by US-Bangla Airlines from Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh to Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal. On 12 March 2018 at 14:18 local time (08:30 UTC), the aircraft serving the flight, a 78-seater Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, crashed on landing, and burst into flames.
The aircraft involved in the accident, S2-AGU, seen in 2014
|Date||12 March 2018|
|Site||Tribhuvan International Airport, Nepal|
|Aircraft type||Bombardier Dash 8-Q400|
|Flight origin||Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka|
|Destination||Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu|
There were 67 passengers and 4 crew members on board; 51 people died, while 20 survived with injuries.
This is the deadliest aviation disaster involving a Bangladeshi airline, as well as the worst accident involving the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400.
The crashed aircraft was a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 registered S2-AGU. The aircraft was first delivered to Scandinavian Airlines in 2001, then it was sold to Augsburg Airways in 2008 before being sold to US-Bangla Airlines in 2014. It had been already involved in another incident in 2015, when it skidded off the runway in Saidpur. There were no injuries. The aircraft sustained minor damage and returned to service eight hours later.
The flight departed from Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, at 12:52 local time (UTC 6:52), carrying 67 passengers and 4 crew members, 71 people in total, to Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The departure and the cruise stages of the flight were uneventful.
Tribhuvan International Airport tower control initially gave clearance to the plane to land on runway 02, but the aircrew then asked to land on runway 20. Tower control then gave clearance to land on runway 20. Tower control then asked the crew for their intent, to which the crew replied "I would like to land on 02".
Local media reported that the flight had passed the threshold of runway 02 and apparently touched down before crashing. According to eyewitnesses, the plane was not aligned properly with the runway. One of the survivors noted that "the plane had begun to behave strangely". Ground workers stated that the aircraft swayed repeatedly. While it was landing it veered, skidded off the runway and slammed onto the airport's perimeter fence. It then slid and crashed onto a soccer field. A survivor recalled that while the plane was landing it shook violently and crashed, followed by loud bangs. It then burst into flames as its fuel tanks ruptured. The plane broke into several pieces.
Firefighters and emergency services were immediately deployed. It took 15 minutes for firefighters to douse the flames. Thirty-one people were transported to several hospitals in Kathmandu, many of them critically injured. Rescue workers immediately found eight bodies on the crash site. Further search and rescue operation found 32 more bodies. 51 people were killed in the crash; of these, 40 people died on the scene, while eleven others were declared dead in hospital. This number was initially only nine, until two more succumbed to injuries the day after. The airport was closed for three hours due to the crash.
Crew and passengers
The aircraft was carrying 71 people: 67 passengers, including two children, and four crew members. The captain was Abid Sultan, a former Bangladesh Air Force pilot. The first officer was Prithula Rashid, one of the few female pilots of the airline.
Sultan had 22 years of flying experience,was one of the experienced pilots of the airline, and had accumulated more than 1500 hours in the aircraft type. According to the airline, captain Abid had flown to Kathmandu numerous times and was aware of the difficulties pilots would face in Kathmandu. He survived the accident but died of injuries a few hours later.
A recording of the conversation between the pilot and air traffic control, minutes before the accident, suggested some misunderstanding over the approach direction for which the aircraft had been cleared to land.