US-Bangla plane crash : Int`l probe begins today


Special Correspondent :
An international probe will begin today (Sunday) to find out the exact cause of the US-Bangla Airlines plane crash that killed at least 51, including 28 Bangladeshis.
The plane, a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop, carrying 71 passengers and crew crashed on landing at Nepal's Kathmandu airport on Monday last.
A joint team of investigators comprising Nepal and Bangladesh Civil Aviation authorities, Bombardier and US-Bangla Airlines will be probing the cause of the crash that still remains unclear.
Two investigators of the plane maker Bombardier have already arrived in Kathmandu.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) is sending a team today to join the international probe panel.
Captain M Rahamatullah, chief of the Aircraft Investigation Group of Bangladesh (AIGB), a specialized wing under the CAAB, will lead the Bangladesh team.  
CAAB Chairman Air Vice Marshal M Naim Hassan on Thursday said it might take a year to complete the investigation into the US-Bangla Airlines plane.
US-Bangla Airlines earlier blamed air traffic control for the accident, but the Kathmandu airport authorities denied the allegation saying the plane approached from the wrong direction that caused the crash landing.
However, an audio tape of the conversation between the cockpit and air traffic control minutes before the plane crashed suggests some misunderstanding over the use of runway while landing of the US-Bangla flight BS211 which was flying from Dhaka.
"The aircraft was permitted to land from the southern side of the runway flying over Koteshwor, but it landed from the northern side," Sanjiv Gautam, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, was quoted as saying by the Kathmandu Post.
"We are yet to ascertain the reason behind the unusual landing."
However, US-Bangla Airlines chief executive Imran Asif blamed Kathmandu air traffic control.
"There were wrong directions from the tower. Our pilot was not at fault," he told reporters at his office in Dhaka.
"Our pilot is an instructor of this Bombardier aircraft. His flight hours are over 5,000. There was a fumble from the control tower."