KATHMANDU - The captain of a Bangladeshi aeroplane "seemed to have an emotional breakdown" before a deadly crash last March, Nepali investigators said in a final report on the Himalayan nation's worst aviation disaster in 26 years.
They blamed the crew's loss of situational awareness for the crash of the US-Bangla Airlines flight to the Nepali capital from Dhaka that caught fire on landing in Kathmandu, killing 51 of the 71 people aboard.
"The pilot thought he could manouevre the aircraft and land. But he could not," panel official Buddhisagar Lamichhane, told Reuters on Monday (Jan 28), referring to the captain.
The captain was under stress and "emotionally disturbed" because he felt that a female colleague who was not on board the fatal flight had questioned his reputation as a good instructor, Nepal's Accident Investigation Commission said in the report.
"This, together with the failure on the part of both the crew to follow the standard operating procedure at the critical stage of the flight, contributed to the loss of situational awareness," said the report, submitted late on Sunday.
This lack of awareness meant the crew did not realise the deviation of the aircraft, a Bombardier Inc Q400 turboprop, from its intended path, which in turn meant they could not sight the runway, it added.
Having missed the runway, the crew was flying very low north of it in an incorrect position, near hilly and mountainous terrain around the airport, it said.