Bangladesh authorities are waiting for the black box of the crashed US-Bangla Airlines plane to be deciphered to come to a conclusion over the cause of the accident while the death toll from the crash at Kathmandu airport rose to 50 on Tuesday.
A three-member committee led by Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh aircraft accident investigation group head Captain Salahuddin M Rahmatullah,
formed Monday evening, already reached Kathmandu to find out the reason and cooperate the Nepalese investigation committee, officials said.
Civil aviation and tourism ministry additional secretary
Abul Hasnat Md Ziaul Haque said that as per the rules of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, an accident was to be investigated by the country where the accident took place. ‘So, we are assisting Nepal to conduct the investigation. We have already sent our officials,’ he added.
Bangladesh ambassador in Nepal Mashfee Binte Shams told Bangladeshi reporters in Kathmandu that the black box needed to be deciphered to know the reason behind the crash.
She made the remark replying to a query over the reported conversation between the air traffic control at Kathmandu airport and the pilot on the landing direction.
Civil Aviation Authority chairman Air Vice Marshal M Naim Hassan told reporters at his office in the afternoon, ‘These are not verified. We are analysing those. This is not the time to comment. We will work together with Nepal but main works will be carried out by Nepal.’
He said, ‘The black box will be sent to the aircraft manufacturer for deciphering the information within it. Then a number of information will come out. Nothing will be kept hide.’
The reported conversation between the air traffic control and the pilot led to confusion over which end of the runway the plane was to approach.
Six officers at the Air Traffic Control Tower, who witnessed the crash, have been shifted to another department to ‘minimise shock of the accident,’ reported a Nepalese online portal My Republica.
Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal and Central Investigation Bureau will jointly investigate on the leaked conversation.
Naim said that it was difficult to say when the investigation would be completed as the investigation was a continued process. ‘We will identify the reason to avoid the repetition,’ he added.
A pilot, flying on Dhaka-Kathmandu route over a decade, said that it usually took two week to decipher the black box and the investigation could be completed within two months.
The black box could also be deciphered by private organisations especially in Singapore, he said.
Agence France-Presse reported from Kathmandu that the reported conversation show apparent confusion between the pilot and air traffic control over the runway approach moments before the plane crash-landed at Kathmandu airport, as Nepal Tuesday began investigating its deadliest aviation accident in decades.
The Nepalese aviation authorities said that they had recovered the flight data recorder from the charred wreckage of the plane, which burst into flames after ploughing into a football field near Kathmandu airport on Monday.
Captain Abid Sultan, the pilot of the flight, died on Tuesday increasing the death toll to 50.
The Bangladesh civil aviation chief, deputed from Bangladesh Air Force, said that Abid was his student in the force and ‘he was a very good pilot. He was also very good with flying Dash-8.’
Naim said that they had all types of preparation but ‘the main challenge now is to identify the deceased. The US-Bangla is doing the work along with Nepal authorities.’
Asked whether the authorities found any technical fault of the plane, Naim said that the plane had flown twice on the day before the crash.
Asked about the reports over the resignation of the pilot, Naim said. ‘Mental effect only comes when pilot is sacked.’ He, however, said that they would examine the pilot’s flying logbook to determine whether he had flown more than the standard.
On Monday, airlines’ chief executive officer Imran Asif said that there had been a ‘fumble from the control tower’ as the plane approached the airport’s single runway.
But Nepalese airport manager Raj Kumar Chhetri told AFP that it was too early to say what had caused the mountainous country’s deadliest crash since 1992.
‘It is yet to be identified whether the pilot or air traffic control was wrong,’ he said, adding that the investigation would be carried out with Bangladesh.
Kathmandu airport lies in a narrow bowl-shaped valley with the Himalayas to the north, making it a challenging place to land.
Kathmandu’s skies have also become increasingly crowded in recent years as air travel has boomed, but investment in critical infrastructure has lagged.
The head of Nepal’s civil aviation authority rejected suggestions that the airport’s creaking facilities played a role in the crash.
‘The accident has not occurred because of the airport’s infrastructure. Indeed it is operating in a situation of congestion, but we have procedures to safely land flights despite traffic,’ Sanjiv Gautam told reporters.
The land-locked country has suffered more than 20 aviation accidents in the last decade, mostly involving small planes on domestic routes.
The Canadian-made Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 is a manoeuvrable plane that was developed to fly in Canada’s harsh arctic north and should be at home in Nepal’s mountainous terrain.
Bombardier is sending two members of its air safety team to support the air crash investigation. The pair left Canada Tuesday morning, the company said.
Forty-six relatives of the Bangladeshi crash victims arrived in Kathmandu on a special flight on Tuesday, said Bangladeshi officials. There were tearful scenes outside the morgue where most of the dead were taken.
‘We received them, briefed them and escorted to the hospitals,’ said the Bangladesh ambassador in Nepal.
She said that the US-Bangla Airlines would arranged air ambulance if any family wanted to shift their near or dear ones to other countries.
The ambassador also said that a Bangladesh Air Force plane was also kept standby to bring back the bodies.
According to the Nepalese hospital authorities, 50 people died.
All of the four crewmembers and 46 of the 67 passengers died in the crash.
Of the Bangladeshi deceased, Umme Salma and Nazia Afrin Chowdhury were senior assistant chiefs at Planning Commission, their colleagues said.
National Human Rights Commission in a statement confirmed the identities of rights activist Md Rafiquz Zaman, his wife Sanzida Huque Bipasha and their child Aniruddha Zaman, among the deceased.
Two more deceased were software engineer Md Rokibul Hasan and Boshakhi Television journalist Foysal Ahmed, said their colleagues.
Another deceased was Alifuzzaman, a government contractor, said his friends.
Other Bangladeshi deceased were Dhaka based couple Akhi Moni and Meenhaz Bin Nasir, Sheikh Sayera Khatun Medical College’s final year student Pias Roy, Dhaka University criminology department student Tahira Tanvin Shashi Reza, Runner Auto employees SM Mahmudur Rahman, Md Matiur Rahman and Nuruzzaman Bablu, who were heading to Nepal for official purpose, freelance photographer FH Priok, his wife Almun Nahar Annie and their child Tamarra Prionmoyee, of Savar.
The other deceased passengers were Bilkis Ara, Begum Hurun Nahar Bilquis Banu, Akhtara Begum, Md Hasan Imam, Mohammad Nazrul Islam, and four others were plane’s pilot Abid Sultan, co-pilot Prithula Rashid and crew Khawaja Hussain and KHM Shafey, according to the list.
The airlines spokesperson Kamrul Islam said that they had no crew named Shafey rather it would be Nabila Farhin.
Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology associate professor Emrana Kabir Hashi, and Shahreen Ahmed, Eakub Ali, Md Shahin Bepari, Rangpur Medical College registrar Md Rezwanul Haque, Mehedi Hasan, Sheikh Rashed Rubayet, Md Kabir Hossain and Saiyada Kamrunnahar Shwarna were admitted to Kathmandu hospitals, according to Bangladesh mission in Nepal.
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