At least 49 passengers were killed and 22 others wounded after a passenger aircraft of a private Bangladeshi airline skidded off the runway and caught fire in capital Kathmandu Monday, police said.
Police spokesman Manoj Neupane said emergency workers recovered 40 dead bodies from the aircraft while nine others died after they were taken to hospitals in Kathmandu.
Neupane said the emergency workers had called off the search at the site since all passengers had been accounted for.
“But we will be able to identify the dead only tomorrow,” he said.
The US-Bangla airlines plane had arrived in Kathmandu in the afternoon from the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.
There were 67 passengers and four crew members aboard. According to local media reports, there were 33 Nepalese among them.
Photographs from the scene showed wreckage of the plane on a field at the edge of the airport. Smoke could be seen rising from the airport.
Firefighters and ambulances had rushed towards the plane to rescue trapped passengers immediately after the incident, which took place on the eastern edge of the airport after the aircraft overshot the runway.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is in Singapore on a four-day official visit, expressed sorrow over the incident, Ihsanul Karim, the premier’s press secretary, told state-run news agency Bangladesh Sagbad Sangstha (BSS).
Karim said the prime minister prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls and conveyed profound sympathy to their family members. She also wished early recovery of the injured, he added.
Monday’s crash is one of the worst to hit the Himalayan country prone to air crashes.
In February 2016, 23 people were killed when a small plane crashed on a mountainside in western Nepal. Two days later, two pilots of another plane were killed in a crash, underscoring the poor air safety record blamed on difficult mountain terrain and lack of maintenance of the aircraft.