Six officers stationed at the Air Traffic Control Tower who witnessed the US Bangla air crash in Kathmandu have been shifted to another department to 'minimize shock of the accident', reports Nepal's My República. With 71 people on board, the plane en route to Kathmandu from Dhaka crashed into a fence of the Tribhuvan International Airport on Monday.
Media reports put the death toll at 49, including pilot Abid Sultan, co-pilot Prithula Rashid and crew member Khwaja Hussain. Most survivors are undergoing treatment at KMC Hospital, Norvic Hospital and Om Hospital in Nepal.
"This is a standard procedure to release stress after a fateful incident. They witnessed a huge disaster and they are shocked. Hence, we have transferred them to other departments to reduce their stress post-crash," said Rajan Pokharel, deputy director general at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.
Pokharel clarified that the transfer was not due to the leaks of audio conversations between ATC and the pilot before the impact, reports bdnews24.com. The last snippets of the conversations between the US-Bangla Flight BS 211 pilot and the Air Traffic Control or ATC at Tribhuvan International Airport expose terrifying moments of confusion over where to land the aircraft.
Investigators have retrieved the flight data recorder from the wreckage of the passenger plane that crashed, the Himalayan Times has reported quoting a senior airport official.
The airline and airport authorities have blamed each other in the aftermath of Monday's aviation disaster, the worst suffered by the Himalayan country since a 1992 Pakistan International Airlines crash that claimed 167 lives.
"The flight data recorder has been recovered; we have kept it safely," said Raj Kumar Chettri, the airport's general manager, adding that an investigation into the cause of the crash had begun.
Nepal on Monday formed a six-member panel to probe the crash-landing of the US-Bangla plane. The plane involved in the crash was a Bombardier Q400 series aircraft. Canadian plane maker Bombardier said it is sending an air safety investigator to the site, as well as a field service representative.
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