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12 March 2018 - US-Bangla Airlines 211

US-Bangla Airlines Flight 211 (BS211/UBG211) was a scheduled international passenger flight by US-Bangla Airlines from Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh to Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal. On 12 March 2018, the aircraft serving the flight, a 78-seater Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, crashed on landing, and burst into flames. There were 67 passengers and 4 crew members on board; 52 people died, while 19 survived with injuries.

This is the deadliest aviation disaster involving a Bangladeshi airline, as well as the deadliest accident involving the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400.

The flight departed from Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, at 12:52 local time (UTC 6:52), carrying 67 passengers and 4 crew members, 71 people in total, to Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The departure and the cruise stages of the flight were uneventful.

There was confusion and conflicting communications between the pilot and the airport tower control. The tower initially gave clearance to land on runway 02 but then had to warn the aircrew that they were approaching runway 20. Further conversation between the pilots and the control tower continued to confuse the runways.

At 14:18 (08:30 UTC), the aircraft passed the threshold of runway 02 and touched down, then veered off the runway and crashed through the airport's perimeter fence and onto a soccer field, breaking into several sections and bursting into flames. According to eyewitnesses, the plane was not aligned properly with the runway. One of the survivors noted that "the plane had begun to behave strangely". Ground workers stated that the aircraft swayed repeatedly. Another survivor recalled that while the plane was landing it shook violently and crashed, followed by loud bangs.

Firefighters and emergency services were immediately deployed. It took 15 minutes for firefighters to douse the flames. Thirty-one people were transported to several hospitals in Kathmandu, many of them critically injured. Rescue workers immediately found eight bodies on the crash site. Further search and rescue operation found 32 more bodies. 52 people were killed in the crash; of these, 40 people died on the scene, while 12 others were declared dead in hospital. This number was initially only nine, until two more succumbed to injuries the day after, while a third, first officer Prithula Rashid, died two weeks later. The airport was closed for three hours due to the crash.

Key:

F UBG211: US-Bangla Airlines Flight 211 (Female Voice)
M UBG211: US-Bangla Airlines Flight 211 (Male Voice)
M VNKT TWR: Kathmandu ATC (Male Voice)
F VNKT TWR: Kathmandu ATC (Female Voice)
BHA282: Buddha Air Flight 282

The Transcript was, as follows:

M VNKT TWR:
Bangla-Star 211, can you reduce your speed further?

F UBG211:
Affirmative, Bangla Star 211.

M VNKT TWR:
Roger, descend to 12,500 feet and reduce your speed to minimum clean.

F UBG211:
Descend to 12,500 and reduce speed to minimum clean, Bangla Star 211.

M VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, confirm holding over GURAS?

F UBG211:
Negative, sir. We are proceeding.

M VNKT TWR:
Roger, continue approach.

F UBG211:
Continue approach, Bangla Star 211.

--Short Pause--

Kathmandu Tower, Bangla Star 211, final runway 02.

F VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, Tower. Wind 230 degrees 8 knots. Tailwind component 7 knots. Runway 02, continue approach.

F UBG211:
Continue approach, Bangla Star 211.

F VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, wind 220 degrees 7 knots. Tailwind component 6 knots. Runway 02, cleared to land.

F UBG211:
Cleared to land, Bangla Star 211.

--Another Pause--

F VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, Tower?

F UBG211:
Go ahead, Ma'am.

M UBG211:
Go ahead, Ma'am.

F VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, you were given landing clearance to runway 02.

M UBG211: 
Affirmative Ma'am.   

F VNKT TWR:
You are going towards Runway 20.

BHA282:
Kathmandu Tower, Buddha 282.

M UBG211:
...to Runway 02.

---Pause---

M VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, runway 20, cleared to land. 

M UBG211:
Cleared to land.

M VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, Kathmandu Tower.

M UBG211: 
Go ahead.

M VKNT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, request your intentions.

M UBG211:
We'd like to land on 02.

M VKNT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, confirm you are VFR?

M UBG211:
Affirmative.

M VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, join... right downwind runway 20.

M UBG211:
Copied.

M VNKT TWR:
Correction, right downwind runway 02. Break, break, Buddha 282, descend to minimum safe altitude. Runway 02, cleared to land.

BHA282:
Runway 02, cleared to land, descend to safe altitude, Buddha 282.

M VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, traffic on final at runway 02 at 2 miles. If visible, report in sight.

M UBG211:
Copied, sir. We will be approaching runway 02.

M VNKT TWR:
Confirm that you're tracking towards runway 20?

M UBG211:
Affirmative.

M VNKT TWR:
Join left, right downwind runway 02. I say again, Bangla Star 211, traffic is on final runway 02. Landing runway 02.

M UBG211:
Copied, sir.

BHA282:
Buddha 282.

M VNKT TWR:
Buddha 282, go ahead.

BHA282:
Confirm cleared to land runway 02?

M VNKT TWR:
Buddha 282, affirm. Runway 02, cleared to land.

BHA282:
02, cleared to land, Buddha 282.

M VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, I say again, do not proceed toward runway 20. Cleared to hold at your present position.

M UBG211:
OK, we are making an orbit to the right. Copied?

---Pause---

Tower, 211 making a right holding. Right holding for runway 02.

M VNKT TWR:
OK, that's approved. But do not land. Traffic is on short final runway 02.

M UBG211:
Roger that, sir. Copied.

M VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, runway, cleared to land and runway's vacated. Either runway 02 or 20. Confirm you need a vector.

M UBG211:
Affirm, we'd like to land on 20.

M VNKT TWR:
Okay, runway 20, cleared to land. Wind 270 degrees 6 knots.

M UBG211:
260, copied, cleared to land.

M VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, confirm you have runway in sight?

M UBG211:
Negative, sir.

M VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, turn right and you have runway. Confirm you have runway not in sight yet? 

M UBG211:
Affirmative, we have runway in sight, requesting clearance to land, sir.

M VNKT TWR:
Bangla Star 211, cleared to land.

M UBG211:
Cleared to land runway 02, Bangla Star 211.

M VNKT TWR:
Roger. Runway 02, cleared to land, Bangla Star 211.

---Pause---

Bangla Star 211, I say again, turn...

?: Unknown
VNKT GND: Kathmandu Ground
M VNKT TWR: Kathmandu ATC (Male)

?:
(Unknown)

VNKT GND:
Go ahead.

?:
The runway is closed, correct?

VNKT GND:
Airport closed, yes sir.

?:
Copied, sir.

VNKT TWR:
We suggest you either divert to either Lucknow or Varanasi. The airport is closed for all operations. Undetermined delay due to a crash at the airport. 

(Pause)

It will close for all operations due to crash at the airport. Delay not determined. We suggest you divert to either Lucknow or Varanasi.

(Pause)

I have repeated the same message three times. Four times now. THe airport is closed for all operations due to crash at the airport.

 

---End of Recording---