US-Bangla Airlines flight BS211, a DHC-8-Q400 (S2-AGU), crashed while approaching to land at Kathmandu-Tribhuvan Airport, Nepal.
The aircraft departed Dhaka, Bangladesh at 12:52 hours local time (06:52 UTC), with 67 passengers and four crew members on board. The flight climbed to a cruising altitude of FL240 (24,000 ft) and proceeded towards Kathmandu. At the time of arrival near Kathmandu a thunderstorm was passing the airport with cumulonimbus clouds passing at 2500ft.
The aircraft was cleared for an approach to runway 02. Apparently the approach was aborted and the flight crew radioed that they were performing a right hand orbit. Initially the air traffic controller replied that they could not land in the opposite direction (runway 20) because other traffic on finals. The controller requested approaching traffic to hold and asked flight 211 if they wanted to land on runway 02 or 20. The flight crew replied: “we like to land on two-zero”. The flight was then cleared to land on runway 20 with wind reported at 270 degrees, 6 knots. Initially the flight crew did not have the runway in sight, but the flight then radioed: “Affirmative, we have not yet runway in sight, requesting to land, Sir”.
This conversation reveals that the pilot did not have runway on sight until the last request of clearance for landing while a lot of people have mistaken it as the sighting of the runway of cockpit crew.
But to add to this dilemma, the cockpit crew confirms again their clearance for landing and this time the flight was again cleared to land through Runway 02. The pilot also read back: “cleared to land runway 02”, though clearance had been given for runway 20 initially. The air traffic controller then also read back the clearance for runway 02.
Shortly afterwards the aircraft impacted terrain and burst into flames. Reports indicate that at least 49 people were killed. Police say 22 survivors are hospitalized.
The crashed aircraft was a Dash 8 Q400 manufactured by Bombardier Inc. registered as ‘S2-AGU’. The aircraft was first delivered to Scandinavian Airlines in 2001, then it was sold to Augsburg Airways in 2008 before being sold to US-Bangla Airlines in 2014. It had been already involved in another incident in 2015, when it skidded off the runway in Saidpur. There were no injuries the aircraft sustained minor damage and returned to service eight hours later.