Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has said on Tuesday that the cause of the US-Bangla Airlines Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft crash can only be ascertained after the probe panel formed to investigate the matter submits its report.
Speaking at a presser organised at Tribhuvan International Airport, Secretary at the Ministry Krishna Prasad Devkota stated that it was too early to comment on how the passenger plane flying from Dhaka crashed at Nepal’s only international airport on Monday, killing 49 passengers on board.
“The cause of the crash can be determined after the probe panel submits its report on conclusion of the investigation. Until then, any comment on the matter would be inappropriate and invalid,” said Secretary Devkota.
“The government has already formed a six-member probe panel under the coordination of former Director General at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), Yagya Prasad Gautam,” The Himalayan Times reports.
“We have reached an understanding to submit the report within five months. However, there is no official set deadline,” added DG Gautam.
The probe panel has also briefed the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh with the available details of the crash.
Meanwhile, CAAN has said that the radio conversation between Air Traffic Controller at TIA and flight pilot, which was leaked to the media, was unlawful and that the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) will conduct investigation into the matter. “The recorded audio between ATC and pilot cannot be released without prior permission of CAAN Director General. CIB is now investigating the series of events,” informed CAAN Director General Sanjiv Gautam.
Likewise, Gautam also dismissed the claims of poor infrastructure at TIA and wrong instructions from ATC being held as the reasons behind the crash. “Yes TIA is narrow and we are in need of new international airports but claims of infrastructure being the reason behind the crash is unfounded,” said Gautam.
Responding to question regarding the instruction given by ATC to flight pilot, Gautam said, “ATC had informed the flight pilot to land the plane on southern runway (02) but then the plane headed towards the northern runway (20). However, ATC gave them clearance to land on that runway as well. But later, the pilot changed his decision and asked for permission to land on runway 02, following which ATC held other planes on sky to help US-Bangla aircraft land on either of the runway, as per the pilot’s convenience.”
“The plane then took a final approach, from a low height, between the north-west tower and Nepal Army’s hanger, and landed in the middle of runway, passing the drainage, breaking the fence, after which it plunged onto the ditch before catching fire,” added Gautam.
He further stated that the rescue squad comprising Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, airport fire-fighting team and emergency response team had reached the crash-site on time to rescue the passengers.
“As per the set provision, a rescue team must reach the accident site within three minutes and our rescue team was at the scene within two minutes.”
“We have, however, taken this incident as a lesson for future,” said Gautam.
The plane had burst into flames at 2:18 pm and the fire fighters had taken the fire under control at 3:00 pm.