KATHMANDU, Nepal — A passenger plane from Bangladesh slammed into an empty field and caught fire just short of the runway at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Monday, and officials feared many of the plane’s 67 passengers were dead.
Huge, dark gray columns of smoke uncoiled from the field as rescuers tried to save as many people as possible from the burning wreckage.
The plane, US-Bangla Airlines Flight 211, was landing at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on a flight from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, when it crashed at 2:15 p.m. Witnesses said it was wobbling in the air and seemed unbalanced as it approached. The tail slammed into the ground, and fire erupted at the rear of the plane.
“It sounded like a bomb went off,” said Kailash Adhikari, a driver for a fuel company working at the Kathmandu airport. He said it took 15 minutes for firefighters to put out the flames.
Nepalese police officials said the flight was carrying 67 passengers; it was not clear how many crew members were aboard. After the crash, ambulances with screaming sirens rushed in and out of the airport gates. Some of the wounded were ferried to Kathmandu hospitals by helicopter.
Nepalese officials said they did not know how many people had survived. One witness said the fuselage had been reduced to ashes.
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