A Bangladeshi investigator, who is closely involved with the Nepali official investigation into the crash of US-Bangla Airlines plane, termed “baseless” the findings of a report obtained and published today by a Nepali newspaper.
Captain Salahuddin M Rahmatullah said he would talk to the Nepali authorities and protest the findings mentioned in the Kathmandu Post report.
The Kathmandu Post ran the report after it had obtained the details of the Nepal government's official investigation saying the pilot of the US-Bangla plane that crashed at Kathmandu airport in March, appears to have lied to the control tower during the landing procedure.
The pilot was smoking continuously inside the cockpit during the one-hour flight from Dhaka to Kathmandu, the report said.
How can they provide such information as four to five months are still left for the Nepali government probe body to complete its investigation, questioned Capt Rahmatullah, also head of Aircraft Accident Investigation Group (AAIG) of Bangladesh.
He said he is closely involved with the county's official investigation process and does not have any such information that can confirm the claim of Kathmandu Post report.
After obtaining a copy of the official investigation led by the Nepal government, the Kathmandu Post said, according to the details of the report Captain Abid Sultan was going through tremendous personal mental stress and anxiety, and a series of erroneous decisions on his part led to the crash of the Flight BS211.
Throughout the flight, Sultan was engaged in erratic behaviour that marked a departure from his usual character-signs that should have immediately raised red flags, Nepali investigators concluded in the report.
Six minutes before the landing time, Sultan had confirmed that the plane’s landing gear was down and locked. “Gears down, three greens,” the pilot said, according to the report, referring to the electrical indicator lights inside the cockpit.
However, when co-pilot Prithula Rashid conducted a final landing checklist, the landing gears were not down. Minutes later, the plane carrying 67 passengers and four crew members burst into flames after missing the runway during its second landing attempt.
Fifty-one people, including 28 Bangladeshis, were killed when an aircraft of US-Bangla from Dhaka crashed at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on March 12.
Among the victims, 22 Nepalis killed in the crash mostly were medical students who had come home on a two-month leave before their final year results were published.
Only 20 passengers survived the crash.