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Plane crash survivor says surviving the ordeal ‘like miracle’

Mar 14 2018 | 03:08 am

By Shristi Kafle

Kathmandu: Monday was an ill-fated day for Nepal’s aviation as the US-Bangla aircraft, with 71 people on board, crashed while landing at Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).

The Home Ministry confirmed that the death toll reached 51, dead bodies being sent for postmortems, while the injured were receiving treatment at different hospitals in Kathmandu.

Though the exact cause of the crash will come only after the reports of investigation by the government-formed panel, survivors said they knew something was wrong before the crash happened.

“While we were about to land in Kathmandu airport, we already had a feeling that there is something wrong … we were shocked and thought that it’s our last day on earth,” Keshav Pandey, a survivor said from the Intensive Care Unit in Nepal Mediciti hospital.

Pandey recalled that the aircraft touched the ground with a loud noise and then he was unconscious for the next few minutes. “Getting the front seat near emergency exit turned out to be a boon for my new life,” he shared in a dismal tone.

The survivor said that they were hovering above airport area for a few minutes before the plane actually landed.

“I was thrown away on the ground and felt my one leg has been disabled. I saw the smoke at the back so I was trying to put my whole energy to get out of the site. I could not think much then. Then, I saw a few security officers, who helped me to reach hospital.”

Though Pandey was immediately taken to Kathmandu Medical College Hospital, he was referred to Nepal Mediciti in the same evening. He is one of the survivors who is not in critical condition.

Pandey, 48, is a popular tourism entrepreneur of Nepal based in the country’s third popular tourist destination Chitwan. He had travelled to Bangladesh on Friday to attend a three-day event upon the invitation of US-Bangla Company.

Though their team comprised 14 members in total, two had returned home on Sunday while the remaining 12 were on the same ill-fated flight.

He recalled that even in the flight they were discussing about how Nepal’s tourism, which has been sluggish after the earthquake of 2015, can be promoted in the international market. However in a flash, he shared that their world became upside down.

Pandey has injuries in his right knee and ribs, and other scratches; he has been receiving specialized treatment under experienced professionals.

Dr. Sishir Lakhe, head of Orthopedics and Surgery Department at Nepal Mediciti hospital, said that the major problem has been seen in Pandey’s right knee, which has fractures which will be operated soon, while his rib bone has been broken and has some minor injuries. “But there is no serious issue.”

Pandey, a husband and father of two young daughters, feels that he is fortunate to be alive. However, time and again, he recalled about the departed friends with whom he had shared the happy moments in the last few days in Bangladesh.

At the same time, he could not stop tears for those young students, who were getting back home after completing their examination.

“I am blessed to be alive. But I am equally in pain for losing my friends from tourism fraternity and the young future doctors who had so much of dreams,” he told Xinhua with tears in his eyes.

With a survival almost like miracle, he still expressed hope that he could get well soon and contribute to the Himalayan country’s tourism.

Panipokhari

Kathmandu, Nepal

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