Keshav Pandey, one of the survivors of Monday’s US-Bangla plane crash at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, said that he was fortunate to get a new lease of life.
He is receiving treatment at the Medicity Hospital Nakhu, Lalitpur. A travel agency operator, Pandey had left for Bangladesh along with 11 travel agency operators and two representatives of US-Bangla aircraft to participate in the Customer Success Summit on March 9.
“We had left for Bangladesh to take part in the summit organised by the US-Bangla Airlines as a business partner,” said Pandy from hospital bed. “We were supposed to return to home after the programme at Cox Bazaar. But we decided to stay one more day.”
Among the 12 friends of travel agencies, 10 people stayed in Bangladesh. Of them, two were the staffers of US-Bangla Airlines. Two other friends had left for Nepal the previous day, he said.
The flight took off on time on Monday.
“We all boarded the plane and sat on the front seats. There were many Nepalis in the aircraft. There were many students returning home after completing their MBBS course. Neuro Surgeon Bal Krishna Thapa was also in the same plane,” said Pandey, who has been receiving treatment for multiple injuries. He said that there were many tourists as well.
“When the plane entered Kathmandu Valley the aircraft was supposed to take the route of Koteshwor while landing but it took another route and missed the airport. We thought the pilot was following the instruction from air-traffic control tower,” he said.
He said the pilot was flying the plane above the hills of Budhanilkantha and Bouddha areas while making the turn to the airport. The plane was flying close to houses and trees. That left all the passengers panic-stricken.
“We had already felt that our lives were at risk. When the pilot turned the plane and approached the airport out of nowhere we thought we will survive,” he said.
“We became quite hopeful two minutes before the landing,” he said, adding, “Shortly after, the plane touched down violently with a bang sound. That’s what I remember. Then after all I can recollect is how I was struggling to save myself. A stream of petrol was oozing out and the plane was emitting smoke. I was trying to come out of the crashed aircraft but couldn’t due to my leg injuries. In the meantime, Nepal Army personnel saw me crawling out of the plane.”
“I was rescued and taken to the Sinamangal-based Kathmandu Medical College. My family members later took me to the Medicity Hospital for treatment.”
Pandey, who sustained injuries in right leg, ribs and eyes, expressed sadness over the death of many tourism entrepreneurs, recently graduated doctors and tourists in the crash.
“I had given up hope of coming alive. I got a new life by losing many friends,” he said.
Copyright: The Kathmandu Post/ANN