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A Bangladeshi plane with 67 passengers on board crashed near Kathmandu airport on Monday as it was coming in to land, officials said, as firefighters battled to extinguish the burning wreckage and rescue passengers.
“We just pulled out dead bodies and injured from the debris,” government spokesman Narayan Prasad Duwadi told AFP.
Another official told AFP that so far 20 injured had been rushed to hospital.
Nepali rescue workers are seen gathering around the debris of the crashed plane.
Plumes of black smoke could be seen rising from the football pitch where the plane crashed, to the east of the runway at Nepal’s only international airport, in the capital Kathmandu.
“There were 67 passengers and 4 crew members” aboard the plane, said airport spokesman Prem Nath Thakur.
“Police and army are trying to cut apart the plane to rescue others,” he added.
Live footage posted on Facebook showed towering columns of smoke rising behind the runway, where another plane stood waiting on the tarmac.
Emergency vehicles appeared to be heading into the smoke as people watched from a distance or filmed on their mobile phones.
Amanda Summers, an American who works in Nepal, watched the crash happen from the terrace of her home office.
“It was flying so low I thought it was going to run into the mountains,” she said. She said it was unclear if it had reached the runway when it landed. “All of a sudden there was a blast and then another blast,” she said.
The flight was arriving from Bangladesh, said an airport official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of airport policy.
An employee who answered the phone at the US-Bangla offices in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, said no one was available to talk.
“I have no other details,” said the employee, who refused to give his name. “But a bad incident has happened.”
US-Bangla Airlines operates Boeing 737-800 and smaller Bombardier Dash 8 Q-400 planes. The airline, part of US-Bangla Group, is based in Dhaka and flies to several domestic and international destinations.
The parent company operates in a number of industries, including real estate, education and agriculture.
The incident comes a day after a private plane carrying the daughter of a prominent Turkish businessman and her friends back from a hen party crashed in Iran, killing 11 passengers and crew, all of whom were women.
Nepal has suffered a number of air disasters in recent years, dealing a blow to its tourist industry.
Its poor air safety record has been blamed largely on inadequate maintenance, inexperienced pilots and substandard management.
In early 2016, a Twin Otter turboprop aircraft slammed into a mountainside in Nepal, killing all 23 people on board.
Two days later, two pilots were killed when a small passenger plane crash-landed in the country’s hilly Midwest.