China mourns victims of Nepal plane crash as probe starts

Source:Xinhua-AFP Published: 2018/3/13 23:13:42

An airplane takes off at the international airport in Kathmandu, Nepal on Tuesday, near the wreckage of a US-Bangla Airlines plane that crashed on Monday. Photo: AFP

China on Tuesday expressed deep condolences to victims and their families after a plane crashed in Nepal.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang made the remarks at a daily news briefing.

According to reports, a plane with 71 people onboard crashed while landing at Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport Monday afternoon, leaving 49 people dead and 22 injured.

"The authority of Nepal has confirmed that a Chinese man was among the victims," Lu said, adding that Chinese Foreign Ministry and Chinese Embassy in Nepal would monitor situation and give support to his family.

Recordings show apparent confusion between the pilot and air traffic control over the runway approach at Kathmandu airport as Nepal Tuesday began investigating its deadliest plane crash in decades.

Aviation authorities said they had recovered the flight data recorder from the charred wreckage of the plane, which burst into flames after crashing into a football field near Kathmandu airport on Monday.

On Monday the airline's chief executive Imran Asif said there had been a "fumble from the control tower" as the plane approached the airport's single runway.

But airport manager Raj Kumar Chhetri said it was too early to say what had caused the mountainous country's deadliest crash since 1992.

"It is yet to be identified whether the pilot or air traffic control was wrong," he said, adding the investigation would be carried out with Bangladesh.

Recordings of the conversation between air traffic control and the pilot appear to indicate confusion over which end of Kathmandu airport's single runway the plane was to approach.

Air traffic control can initially be heard clearing the plane to land from the southern approach.

"You are going toward runway 20," the controller is heard saying seconds later, referring to the northern end of the tarmac.

A series of confused messages follow just before the crash in which the pilot says they will land at "runway 20" and then "runway 02" - the southern end.


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