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Don’t sleep when landing, says plane crash travel agent

March 19, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A travel agent who survived a plane crash last week has advised passengers never to sleep during landing and takeoff and not to drink alcohol during flights.

Dayaram Tamrakar, a travel agent from Nepal, said from hospital that when his plane crashed and caught fire while trying to land at Kathmandu Airport last Monday he was alert. That enabled him to leap from his seat, open the emergency door and help other passengers, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Twenty-two people survived the crash that killed 49. The flight, a de Havilland Dash 8-400 operated by Bangladeshi airline US-Bangla, crashed on landing at Nepal’s Kathmandu airport.

The airline blamed air traffic control, but the airport says the plane approached from the wrong direction, veered right off the runway and slid for about 300 metres until coming to a rest on a soccer field and bursting into flames, as shown in the graphic footage below, shot by a spectator.

The airport later added: “The plane flew past just above the air-traffic control tower during its descent for landing. It touched down the ground just next to a parked plane, a Thai Airways, and ploughed through a fence on the east side of the airport, and plunged into the lower ground,” the BBC reported.

Reports quote a conversation between the pilot and air traffic control minutes before the plane crashed, which suggests a misunderstanding over which end of the single runway the plane was cleared to land on.

An air traffic controller is heard in the recording (obtained by the BBC from air traffic monitor LiveATC) telling the pilot: “I say again, turn!”

Tamrakar, who was travelling with a group of 14 Nepalese travel agents flying back from an award function in Bangladesh, says he is just thankful to be alive.

While 2017 was one of the safest years for aviation ever, the first quarter of this year has been marred by two crashes, the earlier one being an Iran Aseman Airlines ATR-72-212 flying from Tehran Mehrabad to Yasuj on a domestic flight in Iran in February, plus a couple of high-profile crashes of smaller craft. See: Helicopter and hen’s party crash in tragic accidents.

Written by Peter Needham

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