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.
Internal cockpit conversation, with transmissions to Ground in bold
Time in UTC
[“SQUARE BRACKETS”] are audio cockpit warnings
FO: Flight Officer
OPS: US-Bangla Operations
PIC: Pilot in Command
Bangla: Conversation translated from Bangla
ADC: Air Defense Clearance
FIC: Flight Information Centre
Romeo: Waypoint southeast of Kathmandu
Guras: Waypoint 12 miles south of Kathmandu
VFR: Visual Flight Rules
EGPWS: Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System
DME: Distance Measuring Equipment (miles from beacon)
VOR: Visual Omni-directional Range beacon
ROD: Rate of Descent
FO: 0636:20.2 Dhaka Ground BS211 good afternoon
Dhaka Ground: 0636:20.2 BS211 good afternoon, go head ma’m
FO: 0636:34.8 BS211 standing at 28 South flight for KTM FL 240
PIC: 0642:24.0 Do you have the ADC number? (Bangla)
FO: 0642:25.9 No Sir, I have one number 2177
PIC: 0642:25.9 Operations, BS211, how long will you take to respond, I want the ADC and FIC. (Angry tone)
OPS: 0643:31.5 KTM FIC for 211 is 1171 ADC KX 848 and for 212 FIC
PIC: 0643:39.7 I don’t want f–k 212, I want 211 (Very angry) … I don’t want to f–k you, read you, again? Keep your f—ing mouth shut.
PIC: 0650:10.5 Got the clearance?
FO: 0650:09.1 Yes sir, line up is due.
PIC: 0650:16.0 Don’t be scared, I am going to stay for another 3 months, I am going to f–k these people right and left.
Dhaka Tower: 0650:25.7 BS211 clear line up runway 14
FO: 0650:30.4 Clear line up, clear line up runway 14, BS211
PIC: 0651:03.5 Bismillah, have we done the takeoff checklist? (Bangla)
FO: 0651:40.5 80 kts, power set, V1 rotate, positive rate
PIC: 0652:32.5 Look out for birds
PIC: 0652:44.9 Autopilot engaged, 1,000, turning right. Perform the flow check (Bangla)
Dhaka Tower: 0652:49.9 BS211 airborne 52, call turning right
FO: 0652:46.4 We are turning right BS211
Dhaka Tower: 0652:57.5 Roger re-cleared to 240, call passing 4,000
FO: 0652:57.5 Recleared to 240, we’ll call out of 4,000
PIC: 0653:31.5 Even I am abusing others, you don’t be afraid, Buri, I am addressing you as Buri to show my affection for you. (Bangla)
PIC: 0656:14.5 Operations BS 211?
OPS: 0656:17.5 BS 211 Operations, go ahead Sir —
PIC: 0656:32.5 Why the hell you need the onboard fuel? Why do you ask me the onboard fuel? Tell me the reason you want to do with onboard fuel, let me know now … I want written f—ing explanation before I come back to Dhaka
OPS: 0659:27.5 Copied Sir, Wilco, Safe flight Sir
PIC: 0659:34.5 I don’t f–k care about the safe flight, you f–k your duty … Don’t talk to me unless I call you
PIC: 0700:04.5 Okay, after takeoff checklist done? (Normal tone)
FO: 0700:07.5 Sir, yes, Sir done
PIC: 0700:09.5 Mother f—er, piglets, son of bitch (Bangla, low voice)
PIC: 0715:33.5 (Paraphrased and shortened from transcript) Lamia was the worst trained in US-Bangla, now in Biman Bangladesh talks ill of US- Bangla instructors including me. They said we f—ed in the cockpit. Lamia is not even worth approaching, she is ugly, fat with obnoxious appearance…what the f–k is she, the beauty queen of the world? My wife is far more beautiful, I don’t need Lamia. If I intend to buy sex, I can do that with 100 dollars. Because of the mother f—er Lamia, only Lamia, I decided to resign. She talks big, what she knows about flying … if this impression goes to my wife and imagine if you were my wife, if you learn that your husband is fooling with another girl, how would you feel?
FO: 0715:33.5 Oh no, oh my God.
PIC: 0717:40.5 That f—er, that son of a gun, bitch, she asked to fly 100 hours with me. With no intention that she has big boobs nor she would do sex with me. If I want to f–k her, I can f–k her in the hotel. And you know that your friend is f—ing too horny. She has a… she does sex with 6-7 guys I know. You note it, she is not a virgin … So, your friend Lamia is a prostitute. (Bangla)
FO: 0720:46.5 Sir, shouldn’t I switch on the radar?
PIC: 0804:52.5 That f—er Lamia, she made me… look at my f—ing eyes… weeping … crying… where did I do mistake (crying)? I take the blame and resigned. What is my next source of income? At least look at me f—er (crying and blowing nose) Do I need to cry like this?
FO: No, no Sir.
PIC: Look at me now (crying, choking and blowing nose). So, it is my problem that I have not been able to teach you.
PIC: 0806:08.5 Okay, let us do the descent checklist (Bangla).
FO: Yes Sir, it is time (Bangla)
PIC: 0806:55.5 I have suffered a lot, my child (bursts out crying, blowing nose)
FO: Sir, please forget. The God is above us. Even if you find it hard to forgive her, please forgive her.
PIC: How can I forgive her. The girl for whom I have taken so much pain. We don’t know f–k how do I accept that, tell me (crying and blowing nose) PIC: 0807:42.5 We will do approach checklist at Romeo, okay (Bangla)?
FO: Yes Sir
PIC: Ask, request for descent
FO: 0807:49.5 Kathmandu, BS211 ready for descent
KTM Control: 0807:49.5 BS211, descend to FL 160
PIC: 0810:17.5 Do you know that I have not slept during the whole night and I cried a lot (Bangla). I have received so much pain … you have seen me now. I have cried enough my daughter, cried a lot.
KTM Approach: 0813:41.5 BS211, Reduce to minimum speed and descend to 12,500 ft
FO: 0813:45.5 Descend to 12,500 and reduce speed to minimum BS211
PIC: Good job my daughter.
PIC: 0819:03.5 I have dropped my cigarette, let me find the thing, do you know where I have dropped it … it is on the left. There is possibility of catching fire.
FO: 0819:22.5 Sir, we are getting into cloud
PIC: Forget it. Okay adjust the pitch control of Weather Radar … Okay we don’t need this now out of cloud (Bangla) … Why are you holding the power levers? I am the pilot flying, idiot, I should be holding. What is our QNH 1015 okay? Okay put your HDG bug on top.
KTM Approach: 0822:15.5 BS211, confirm holding over Guras?
FO: 0822:15.5 We are continuing approach
PIC: 0822:57.5 How much will it be at 13 DME? 9,800. Is it okay? Pumps on, Flaps 5
FO: Okay. Speed good for flaps… Flaps 5 PIC: 0823:00.5 Flaps 15 … Do the Before Landing Checklist … Do it
FO: 0823:17.5 Landing Gear
PIC: Down Three Green
PIC: 15 set
FO: Sir, not yet set [LANDING GEAR UNSAFE WARNING] … Sir, Speed Speed Speed
PIC: No worry, no worry [GEAR UNSAFE WARNING]
KTM Approach: 0823:46.5 BS211, Position 10 Miles, contact Tower 118.1 [GEAR UNSAFE WARNING CONTINUES]
FO: 0824:37.5 Kathmandu Tower, BS211, Finals RW 02 [GEAR UNSAFE WARNING]
KTM Tower: 0824:45.5 BS211, Kathmandu Tower, wind 230 degrees 8 knots, tail wind component 7 knots, runway 02, continue approach
PIC: Okay do Before Landing Checklist now (Bangla)
FO: Sir, have done Before Landing Checklist
PIC: What altitude at 5 DME
FO: At 5 DME 6,640
PIC: 6,640 So let me increase the ROD
FO: Yes Sir, the ROD needs to be increased … 4 DME, Sir we are 600 ft high
PIC: I do not understand what you are saying, say slowly. (Bangla) [“MIMINUMS, MIMINUMS] [GEAR UNSAFE WARNING]
PIC: 0825:46.5 Have we seen the runway? (Bangla)
[EGPWS “MINIMUM” “SINK RATE”] [“TOO LOW-GEARS”] [GEAR UNSAFE WARNING CONTINUES]. KTM Tower: 0826:33.5 BS211, wind 220 degrees 7 knots, tail wind component 6 knots, runway 02, clear to land. [EGPWS SOUND] [“TOO LOW-GEARS”] [GEAR UNSAFE WARNING CONTINUES]
FO: 0826:37.5 Clear to land, BS211
FO: 0826:46.5 Sir, Gear not yet down! (Bangla)
[GEAR UNSAFE WARNING] [“TOO LOW – GEAR”] [“TERRAIN”]
PIC: Okay put the gear down. Flaps 15, and Before Landing Checklist
FO: Landing Checklist done Sir
PIC: Done? Okay set the Go Around Altitude 10,500
PIC: 0827:17.5 Have we seen the runway (Bangla)?
FO: No not yet (Bangla)
PIC: Not seen yet? (Bangla) No problem, it will be in front.
KTM Tower: 0827:43.5 BS211, Tower…. you were given landing clearance to runway 02
PIC: 0827:45.5 Affirmative Ma’am
KTM Tower: 0827:48.5 You are going towards Runway 20
PIC: 0827:53.5 I think we are going to Runway 02
KTM Tower: 0828:01.5 Ok, BS211, runway 20 clear to land
PIC: 0828:03.5 Clear to land
PIC: 0828:08.5 Can we see the Runway? We have set up everything, all done but we are not seeing the Runway
PIC: That means the runway is to our right [“TERRAIN”] So, we have crossed the VOR, is not it, okay? (Bangla) [EGPWS “TERRAIN, TERRAIN, PULL UP, PULL UP”]. Let us turn right then, okay (Bangla)? [EGPWS “PULL UP, PULL UP, PULL UP]. So, we have gone past (Bangla) we will approach runway 02, 002 [EGPWS “TERRAIN, TERRAIN, TERRAIN, PULL UP, PULL UP, PULL UP”]
FO: Okay (Scared voice) [EGPWS “PULL UP, PULL UP, PULL UP”]
KTM Tower: 0829:07.5 BS211, Kathmandu Tower, request your intention [EGPWS CONTINUOUS “PULL UP”]
PIC: 0829:09.5 I would like to land on 02
KTM Tower: 0829:14.5 BS211, and confirm you’re VFR
KTM Tower: 0829:20.5 BS211, join the… (Garbled) … right downwind runway 20
PIC: 0829:21.5 Copied
PIC: 0829:33.5 We have crossed and that’s why we have not being able to make it (Bangla)
FO: Sir, how have we missed the runway?
PIC: No worry, no worry. We are going to VOR. [CONTINUOUS EGPWS WARNING]
KTM Tower: 0830:12.5 Join left … right downwind, runway 02 … BS211, I say again, do not proceed towards runway 20. Clear to hold your present position
PIC: Copied Sir
PIC: So, our VOR is on to the left, is it not? Okay, Before Landing Checklist is done?
FO: Yes everything done
PIC: 0830:37.5 Tower, Ok we are making an orbit to the right
FO: Sir, this is runway
PIC: Have you seen the runway, where is it?
KTM Tower: 0831:00.5 Ok that’s good, but do not land. Traffic is on short final runway 02
PIC: 0831:12.5 We know that sir. Copied, let us know Sir once the aircraft lands
PIC: So I have done mistake, it happens isn’t it? It can happen since I was talking to you! Where is our VOR, gone left isn’t it, so let me make a turn 15 degrees to come back to the final.
FO: Okay (More confident voice)
KTM Tower: BS211 runway ah… clear to land … runway is vacated. Either runway 02 or 20. Confirm you need vector? [“BANK ANGLE, BANK ANGLE”]
PIC: 0832:07.5 Sir, we would like to land RW 20 [“BANK ANGLE, BANK ANGLE”]
KTM Tower: 0832:09.5 Ok, runway 20 clear to land. Wind 270 degrees 6 knots
PIC: 0832:10.5 260 copied clear to land
PIC: 0832:16.5 We have to now find the runway isn’t it? We are 4 miles now. Which side should the runway be? (Bangla)
FO: 12 O’clock
PIC: Where is the runway? [EGPWS “TERRAIN, TERRAIN PULL UP, PULL UP, PULL UP”.
Unidentified voice in Nepali: 0832:31.5 02 gayo jasto cha khoi? (May have gone to 02, where is it?)
KTM Tower: 0832:38.5 BS211, confirm you have air… runway in sight?
PIC: 0832:40.5 Negative Sir
PIC: Where is the runway? (Bangla)
KTM Tower: 0832:44.5 BS211, turn right and uh… you have runway… confirm you have a runway not in sight yet?
FO: 0832:44.5 Sir runway, runway. Sir 3 O’clock. [“BANK ANGLE, BANK ANGLE”]
PIC: 0832:47.5 Affirmative, we have runway in sight, request clear to land Sir
KTM Tower: 0832:52.5 BS211 Cleared to land
PIC: 0832:55.5 Okay put the Flight Director Standby … keep the Heading Bug Zero … Okay, Landing Checklist Done?
Unidentified voice in Nepali: 0833:11.5 Jahaj dekhira Chaina? Dekhira chha Sir. Downwind ma chha. Tei ta, yo ta purai almaliyo. Pheri orbit garyo Sir. (Can you see the plane? Yes, he is downwind, it is completely confused. He is making another orbit, Sir.)
PIC: 0833:23.5 Have you given 022 [RADIO ALTIMETER CALL “100, MINIMUMS”] KTM Tower: 0833:26.5 BS211, that is not the runway… over… that’s not the runway. BS211, that is not the runway I say again. Take off clearance cancelled. [EGPWS “SINK RATE, PULL UP”] PIC: 0833:35.5 We have the runway in sight Sir. Are we cleared to land?
FO: 20 … Oh my God, Sir [“BANK ANGLE”]
KTM Tower: BS 211, I say again turn … [“BANK ANGLE, BANK ANGLE, BANK ANGLE, SINK RATE, SINK RATE”] [“50”] [“BANK ANGLE, BANK ANGLE”]
FO: 0834:04.5 Sir! Sir! (Very alarmed)
---End of Recording---