KATHMANDU, April 14: A preliminary report of last month’s US Bangla air crash has claimed that there has been no lapse on part of the rescue operators after the crash, and that the airport’s rescue team had reached the accident site within two minutes after the aircraft hit fire.
The preliminary report, submitted by a 6-member investigation team to minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari stated: “According to the eye witnesses and the statements submitted by the rescue and fire-fighting (RFF) team, they immediately rushed to the crash site, fought the fire and rescued survivors with utmost efficiency.”
Flight UBG with call sign Bangla Star 211, operated by US Bangla Airlines Ltd of Bangladesh, had met with mishap at Tribhuvan International Airport on March 12, killing 51 people on board including four crew members.
The report was submitted to the minister within the stipulated time frame of 30 days given to the investigation team based on ICAO Annex 13 and Civil Aviation (Accident Investigation) Regulation 2016 of Nepal.
As mentioned in the report, four large foam tenders, one medium foam tender and two water tankers were used with full effectiveness. The report states: “Two-way communication between the aircraft and the approach as well as tower control was normal until 0832:58 UTC (1417:58 LT). Thereafter, a few transmissions were made by both ATC and the Pilot until 0833:45 UTC (1418:45 LT), but no corresponding replies or acknowledgements were made from either side.”
The report has further mentioned: “The aircraft touched down at about 1,700 meters down the threshold and on the left portion of centerline of Runway 20. The aircraft then travelled on ground towards southeast, went out of the runway, ran through the inner perimeter fence of the airport area, moved down along rough down slope and finally stopped at about 442 meters southeast side of the runway from its initial touchdown point.”
Then after the aircraft caught on fire and get completely destroyed, the report further added.
Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, joint secretary of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) and a member of investigation team, told Republica that they were trying to prepare final report by July.
Looking back at the history, air crash investigations have completed within five to six months. The six-member investigation team coordinated by Yagya Prashad Gautam, former secretary of MoCTCA, was deployed to the field by Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). Meanwhile, an accredited representative team sent by the government of Bangladesh is also in the field besides the Nepali official team.
A total of 49 on board were killed on the spot and two survivors died while undergoing treatment at hospital in Kathmandu, the report added.