April 24, 2018 04:00 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, April 24: A report submitted by a government panel formed to investigate the March 12 crash of US Bangla Air has left unanswered some vital issues related to the airport authorities, the concerned airlines said on Monday, raising doubts over impartiality of the report released by the Nepali authorities.
Organizing a press conference on Monday, US Bangla Airlines Chief Executive Officer Imran Asif had questioned the report's silence on the TIA's Airport Traffic Control (ATC)'s "confusing instruction" which he said was the main reason for the fatal crash which claimed around 51 lives.
He said the airline has doubts over the report's claim that a fire extinguishing team reached the spot within two minutes after the accident.
“We are doubtful about this information. Because, if the Nepal authorities had sent a fire extinguisher team to the spot within just two minutes, then lot of people would have been alive today,” the Star Daily, an English language daily language in Bangladesh, quoted Asif as saying.
In a report submitted to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) earlier this month, a six-member probe panel led by former MoCTCA Yagya Prasad Gautam had stated that there was "no lapse on part of the rescue operators after the crash". The report also stated that the airport's rescue team had reached the accident site within two minutes after the aircraft caught fire.
According to the eye witnesses and the statements submitted by the rescue and fire-fighting (RFF) team, they immediately rushed to the crash site, doused the fire and rescued survivors with utmost efficiency, reads the report.
Claiming that the TIA administration had transferred six ATCs in wake of the crash, Asif also demanded questions over the silence of Nepali authorities on the matter.
“We don't know yet why they were transferred. But it's not usual to take such steps, if not found negligent,” he said.
A leaked audio had revealed miscommunication between the pilot and the ATCs before the plane skidded off the runway while landing at the airport. He said that the TIA administration was to blame for the accident and demanded independent investigation into the crash. He also said that the black box has been sent to Canada to find over about the circumstances of the crash.
“In our understanding, it is a violation of international rule to allow another aircraft to land or fly without cancelling the landing clearance given to previous plane,” the CEO said in a statement.