Captain in Nepal plane crash suffered ‘emotional breakdown’: report

The captain of the Bangladeshi passenger plane that crashed in March as it landed at Kathmandu airport in Nepal “seemed to have an emotional breakdown” just before the crash, reports said.

Fifty-one people died when the Bombardier Q400 turboprop, operated by Bangladeshi airline US-Bangla, swerved off the runway as it was landing in Nepal’s capital around 2:20 p.m.

US-Bangla Airlines Flight BS211 from Dhaka crashed on its second landing attempt at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport on March 12, 2018. The 51 people killed were 28 Bangladeshi, 22 Nepalese and one Chinese national, and 20 others were injured. The pilot and co-pilot were among the dead.

Reuters reported that Nepal’s Accident Investigation Commission said in a report that the pilot became “emotionally disturbed” during the flight because he thought that a female colleague questioned his ability as an instructor.

"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," the report said.

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The report also said the pilot had been released from the Bangladesh Air Force in 1993 due to depression and was only allowed to fly civilian planes from 2002 after a detailed medical evaluation.

The flight crew and the controllers also lacked a clear understanding of each other when they communicated about the landing runway, the report said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report