At least 40 people were killed and 23 injured when a Bangladeshi passenger plane crashed in Kathmandu on Monday (Mar 12), an official said.

There were 71 people on board the US-Bangla Airlines plane from Dhaka when it crashed into a field near the airport.

Rescuers had to cut apart the mangled and burned wreckage of the aircraft to pull people out.

“The chances of rescuing anyone (else) alive is slim now because the plane was badly burned,” said army spokesman Gokul Bhandaree, who confirmed the deaths.

This is the worst aviation disaster to hit Nepal in years. Airline spokesman Kamrul Islam told AFP that 33 of the passengers were Nepali, 32 were Bangladeshi, one was Chinese and one from the Maldives.

An official from Bangladesh’s civil aviation ministry told AFP that “there might be technical problems on the aircraft”.

“But it has to be probed before making a final statement,” he said, adding that the plane was a Canadian-made Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop.

According to an airport spokesperson, the aircraft caught fire after it careened off the runway during landing, reported The Kathmandu Post.

The plane then crashed onto a football ground near the airport at 2.20pm.

Mountainous Nepal is notorious for air accidents. Small aircraft often run into trouble at provincial airstrips.

A Thai Airways flight from Bangkok crashed while trying to land in Kathmandu in 1992 killing all on board.

US-Bangla Airlines is a unit of the US-Bangla Group, a US Bangladeshi joint venture company.

The Bangladeshi carrier launched operations in July 2014 and operates Bombardier Inc and Boeing aircraft.



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